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The Star Wizard's Legacy:
Six Poetic Sequences

Drawings by Fernando Mercado.

2010, White Pine Press, Buffalo, NY. 101 pages.


The Star Wizard's Legacy is Marcus's translation of the work of Vasko Popa, who greatly influenced Marcus's first book, Origins.


The book contains versions that Marcus and Popa worked on together in 1969. Popa was one of the great post–World War II European poets. Building on surrealist fable and traditional folktales, personal anecdotes, and the tribal myths of his Serbian homeland, he created one of the most original poetries of the twentieth century.


Cosmic in setting, his work seeks nothing less than taking the comic blunderings, tragic sufferings and senseless ironies of human experience, and loosing them like endless dreams throughout an indifferent universe. 

Critical Comments:

"Poets have the gift to speak for others, Vasko Popa had the very rare quality of hearing the others."   — Octavio Paz


"As Popa penetrates deeper into his life, with book after book, it begins to look like a Universe passing through the Universe. It is one of the most exciting things in modern poetry, to watch this journey being made." — Ted Hughes



"Marcus’s essay 'Remembering Vasko Popa' is included after the poems themselves, and in a mode as lovely as the poems themselves he recalls their time together."  Molossus



From The Star Wizard's Legacy


He left behind his words
Lovelier than the world
No one dares look at them


They wait at the corners of time
Greater than people
Who can pronounce them


They lie on the dumb earth
Heavier than life's bones
Death could not carry them away
As his dowry


No one can lift them
No one can strike them down


Falling stars hide their heads
In the shadows of his words



Once upon a time there was a number
Pure and round like the sun
But it was lonely very lonely


It started to calculate itself


It divided multiplied itself
Subtracted and added Itself
But it always remained alone


It stopped calculating
And shut itself up
In its round sunlit purity


The glowing tracks of its calculations remained outside


They began to chase each other in the dark
To divide themselves while multiplying
To subtract themselves while adding


That's how things go in the dark


And there was no one to ask it
To stop its tracks
And erase them



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