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Index: Poetry and prose in translation

Three récits by Georges Limbour.

Georges Limbour: ‘However, as soon as the first white-painted houses appeared, as though sensing it would have been dangerous to go further, they stopped and scattered amid the cacti and fig trees. I entered the village. A woman rooted to the spot by the pitcher she carried on her head raised the edge of her cloak to her eyes. ‘

Rrose Sélevy.

Rrose Sélevy: ‘Marcel Duchamp: In the lane there was a blue bull near a white seat. Now explain the motive for the white gloves.’

New translations from ‘The Dice Cup’.

Ian Seed: ‘Max Jacob’s father was a tailor and the owner of an antique shop. Jacob’s large family, including uncles, aunts and cousins, often make an appearance in his poems. In 1894 Jacob left Quimper to study law in Paris, but abandoned his studies two years later to become an art critic. In 1899 he decided to become a painter, supporting himself through a series of menial clerical jobs. When he met Picasso in 1901, the two became friends immediately.’

New poems from ‘The Little Book of Passage’.

da Libretto di transito By FRANCA MANCINELLI. Translated from the Italian by John Taylor. NON È SOLO preparare una valigia. È confezionarsi, vestirsi bene. Entrare nella taglia esatta della pena. Gesti a una destinazione sola. Calzando scarpe che non hanno mai premuto la terra, dormiremo nel centro dello sguardo, come neonati. IT’S NOT JUST packing […]

Devotions.

Yves Bonnefoy: And always to quays at night, to bars, to a voice saying I am the lamp, I am the oil.

Three poems from Together Still.

Yves Bonnefoy: Yes, but look: the grass is crushed, where an animal has slept.
Its hideaway is like a sign. The sign is more
Than what was lost, than life going by—
Than the song on the road, late at night.

How should we translate ‘A scrap of paper’?

For a Scrap of Paper By PAUL HYACINTHE LOYSON. Translated by J. G. Frazer. WHY BURSTS THE CLOUD in thunder, and to devastate the world The levin bolt of battle from heaven, or hell, is hurled? Why march embattled millions, to death or victory sworn? Why gape yon lanes of carnage by red artillery torn? […]

The Lay of Love and Death of Christoph Cornet Rilke von Langenau.

Rilke: ‘Outside, a storm is racing across the sky, breaking the night into pieces, white pieces, black ones. The moonlight goes past like a drawn-out lightning flash and the flag which doesn’t move has restless shadows. It is dreaming.’

Five poems.

Gëzim Hajdari: ‘The stones along the road are silent,
the bitter grass in the field trembles.
Under a sky always dark
naked, orphan trees.’

Lorenzo Calogero and other poets in translation.

Peter Riley: ‘By 1945 Calogero had got himself into a fairly dreadful state of hopelessness and was comforted only by his distance from the demands and rewards of urban centrality, in a pastoral location which to him was more real than the university or the state.’

The Olympic Games.

G.S. Robertson: ‘Athens, all hail! Hail, O rejoicing throng!
And from our lips receive the tributary song.’

Ilhan Berk.

Peter Riley: ‘It seems that in his later years Berk cultivated an extreme version of what some poets would call “risk-taking” which mainly casts the task of cohering back on the reader. I like to think of this name (of a loved person) somehow represented as one leaf’s contribution to the large symphonic rustling of a tree, and this person having been singled out of a whole population to receive special regard. I feel that it is I who have done this rather than Berk.’

Winétt de Rokha: Three poems.

Winétt de Rokha: ‘The word becomes a butterfly of the night,
bats its wings, stops, opens itself to unforeseen pearls —
catches at an echo that rolls slowly
away, dividing and dividing again, and chases after its own flight
like the mane of a comet as it dissolves.’

Y.

Pierre Voélin: ‘in the distance the processions move on

and he who is listening
behind the wall of foliage
remembers the promises of your name’

Writing to Shakespeare.

Bonnefoy: ‘…you’re standing in a corner of the theatre. It’s cold, and a wind seems to be blowing. You’re talking to several men, young and old. One of them will be Hamlet; another, Ophelia. Do you have an idea to explain to them? No. Hamlet is being written here, at this very moment, in the sentences that come to you, that take you by surprise. It’s virtually an improvisation, over several days divided between your table—I don’t know where—and the stage: a text, certainly, but one you cross out off-the-cuff, as when you understand—for example, at this very instant—that your future Hamlet doesn’t grasp all that well what you’re trying to tell him.’