Tag Archives: Poetry

Bumper crop of classical Japanese verse in English

Suddenly this spring, an unexpected flowering of Japanese verse in English. Two Copper Canyon editions of W. S. Merwin: Ten years in the making, the first complete bilingual edition of haiku from Yosa Buson (1716–1783), the successor to Basho and one of the great Haikuists of the Edo period, translated in collaboration with Takako Lento […]

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A Christmas poem, by Joseph Brodsky, translated by Derek Walcott

    …………………………………………………………To Elisabeth Leonskaya The air—fierce frost and pine-boughs. We’ll cram ourselves in thick clothes, stumbling in drifts till we’re weary— better a reindeer than a dromedary. In the North if faith does not fail God appears as the warden of a jail where the kicks in our ribs were rough but what you […]

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“Stanzas for an Imaginary Garden,” by Octavio Paz

The municipal government of Mexico City approached Octavio Paz with a proposal to build, in his childhood neighborhood of Mixcoac, a public garden whose gates and walls would be decorated with his poems. Mixcoac, once a charming village on the outskirts of the city, is now largely a desolate, anonymous corner of the spreading megalopolis. […]

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“Epitaph,” by Kiki Dimoula

“One per cent of every kiss given, each one without exception, consists of eternity and all the rest the risk it may be the last.” Even if it’s the last it will be called a kiss all the more at least as long as memory on one hand and oblivion on the other pull it […]

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Kiki Dimoula is a brazen plagiarist

Kiki Dimoula, one of Greece’s preeminent poets, is just now being comprehensively translated into English for the first time thanks to the exemplary Margellos World Republic of Letters series at Yale University Press, an endowed series made possible by Cecile and Theodore Margellos to bring important works of world literature into English. They have already provided […]

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Gros-Jean ignores a warning, from “Moon-Child,” a play by Derek Walcott

Rare footage! Derek Walcott himself as the Narrator in a production of  “Moon Child (Ti Jean in Concert),” at the American Academy in Rome on April 4, 2011. Also wonderful: The silky Wendell Manwarren as the Planter and music by Ronald “Boo” Hinkson. NARRATOR Deep in the forest, thick, where precious creatures are: the dove, […]


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New translation of the Bhagavad Gita!

A new translation of the Bhagavad Gita from Norton by Gavin Flood and Charles Martin sent me into Namaste on 14th Street for a comparison. Flood and Martin’s introduction is welcoming and informative; I took note especially of their description of the poem’s form, which echoes the larger epic, the Mahabharata, in which it sits.  […]

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Walser’s Trakl

In February we considered the poetry of Georg Trakl on the occasion of several new translations of his work. Now another door opens on this literary moment with Christopher Middleton’s Thirty Poems of Robert Walser, including this tribute to Trakl (first published in Michael Schmidt’s indispensable PN Review). Walser, whose growing recognition in English owes […]

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“Stella Polaris,” by Viktor Kulle

Russian poet Viktor Kulle is fifty today, today being April 30 in his part of the world. We congratulate him! His is a voice resonating with Russia’s deep classical past. In 1996 he defended Russia’s first doctoral dissertation on Joseph Brodsky (here it is). We offer his poem “Stella Polaris” in a translation by Little […]

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Robert Wrigley: Allowable Error

A treasure from the AWP. Robert Wrigley reflects on the political in poetry across three wars. Wislawa Szymborska, who died this past February 1st, at the age of 88, won the Nobel Prize in 1996. She insisted no one was more surprised by this than she was. Newspapers all over the world reported her “embarrassment” […]

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