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Lost Originals


Translation is the extrovert, metaphor the introvert. Without translation, there is no communication. Without metaphor, there is no art.

Lost Originals, the latest collection of poetry from writer and scholar David Goldstein, explores the potential of metaphoric translation to contribute to a conversation about originality, the power of objects, and the boundaries of poetry and language.

Taking as his foundation the notion that every act of speaking is a translation from one sort of experience to another, Goldstein's innovative poetic 'experiment' represent an elegy for a series of "lost originals" a group of objects and experiences that can only be accessed through language. In this way, Goldstein's encounters with a menagerie of objects and sources—from porcelain figurines and maps, to computer-generated email spam and journalism about sharks—yield a myriad of voices, giving metaphorical speech to the unspeaking or unspoken, and at the same time, uncovering a surprising beauty in language normally viewed as impenetrable or utilitarian.


Praise for Lost Originals:

"David B. Goldstein's Lost Originals thrusts me back to this ambivalent relationship with the objects that surround us, that exist without breathing yet still fog up the mirror. This collection animates artifacts into language, dissolving the boundary between invitation and threat: 'soon you too will be opened / by the unmouthed key of my voice.' Lost Originals will pluck the splinters from the palm of your voice. Let it." —Julia Cohen, author of I Was Not Born, Collateral Light, and Triggermoon Triggermoon.

"David Goldstein's explorations into the known and unknown worlds of our experience leads us through centuries of cultural accumulation in search of 'the authentic, the original.' These deeply intelligent poems are endlessly alive to the workings of thought and the refractions of language. In Goldstein's work, it is possible to believe that what is lost can be reclaimed." —Keith Newton

"With the wild spirit of a surrealist and the rakish wit of a Restoration dramatist, David Goldstein directs a chorus of doll voices emanating from off-kilter vantage points and 'pataphysical mappings, and in the process, he exposes the economies of terror and eros that underwrite the Western tradition. These are crisp lines that accumulate ambiguity and distribute complicity and resistance across a network of images that surprise and unsettle in the best of ways: 'each petal a talkative backstop.' A stunning second book." —Shannon Maguire, author of fur(l) parachute and Myrmurs: An Exploded Sestina


David B. Goldstein is the author of a previous poetry collection, Laws of Rest (BookThug, 2013), a book of criticism, Eating and Ethics in Shakespeare's England (Cambridge, 2013), and two chapbooks, the most recent of which is Object Permanence (Ugly Duckling, 2015). The recipient of numerous grants and awards, including the Shakespeare's Globe Book Award, Goldstein lives with his family in Toronto, where he is Associate Professor of English at York University.

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