The Ghosts of Birds

Eliot Weinberger

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  • New Directions
  • 2016
  • ISBN 9780811226189
  • 240 pages
  • Sofcover
  • 21 × 14 × 2 cm

The Ghosts of Birds offers thirty-five essays by Eliot Weinberger: the first section of the book continues his linked serial-essay An Elemental Thing, which pulls the reader into “a vortex for the entire universe” (Boston Review). Here, Weinberger chronicles a nineteenth-century journey down the Colorado River, records the dreams of people named Chang, and shares other factually verifiable discoveries that seem too fabulous to possibly be true. The second section collects Weinberger’s essays on a wide range of subjects—some of which have been published in the New York Review of Books, and London Review of Books—including his notorious review of George W. Bush’s memoir, Decision Points, and writings about Khubilai Khan, the I Ching, different versions of the Buddha, American Indophilia (“There is a line, however jagged, from pseudo-Hinduism to Malcolm X”), Herbert Read, and Charles Reznikoff.

Eliot Weinberger is an essayist, political commentator, translator, and editor. His books of avant-gardist literary essays include Karmic Traces, An Elemental Thing (named by the Village Voice as one of the “20 Best Books of the Year”) and, most recently, Oranges & Peanuts for Sale. His political articles are collected in What I Heard About Iraq—called by the Guardian the one antiwar “classic” of the Iraq war—and What Happened Here: Bush Chronicles. The author of a study of Chinese poetry translation, 19 Ways of Looking at Wang Wei, he is the translator of the poetry of Bei Dao, and the editor of The New Directions Anthology of Classical Chinese Poetry and the Calligrams series published by NYRB Classics. His other anthologies include World Beat: International Poetry Now from New Directions and American Poetry Since 1950: Innovators & Outsiders. Among his translations of Latin American poetry and prose are the Collected Poems 1957–1987 of Octavio Paz, Vicente Huidbro’s Altazor, and Jorge Luis Borges’ Selected Non-Fictions, which received the National Book Critics Circle award for criticism. He was born in New York City, where he still lives. Often presented as a “post-national” writer, his work has been translated into thirty languages, and appears frequently in the New York Review of Books, the London Review of Books, and periodicals and newspapers abroad.