Medium 9781847770998

52 Euros: Containing 26 Men and 26 Women in a Double A-Z of European Poets in Translation

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With its lens on Europe and taking a singular approach, this collection of poems translates and revises the works of both famous and rising poets. From Akhmatova, Baudelaire, and Pasolini to the Olafsson brothers, Renée Vivien, and Yulia Zhadovskaya, poets from various European nations are not only brought together in the book but are celebrated in it for their differences and a shared poetic purpose. Award-winning poet John Gallas collaborated with native speakers to translate the works and then incorporated his artistic edge into their interpretation. Covering all of human life in the subjects, including love and despair, wild excess and wistful calm, this exhilarating poetic journey travels across a continent as well as through time.

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A Short Word before 52 Euros

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A Short Word before 52 Euros

There is only one way for a poet to translate the poems of others, and that is by being himself. The poems in this collection all read, more or less, like me. They could not do otherwise. To work on a poem at the utmost is to call into service all the things that go furthest in one’s own abilities. To do less would be unworthy. To mimic fiftytwo poets would be only to do the police in different voices. It is better that they appear in the committed translator’s Force than that they remain on some incomprehensible and invisible Beat.

The poets and their poems were chosen by whoever wished to choose them. This accounts for the democratic mix of the famous, the less famous, the forgotten and the unknown, the last three categories being the happy means of introducing the new to many via the love of a few. The translators produced word-by-word, line-byline translations into English. These I re-poemed. It was the method also used for The Song Atlas: A Book of World Poetry (Carcanet, 2002).

 

Muse

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King Greyeyes

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Evening Time

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I Warn You Now

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The Last-Time Song

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Hands Hitched Under My Shawl…

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Aleksey Apukhtin

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it dew-shines in a mist; airbreaths bring the sweet smell of mown hay from sleepy clearings: ssh, everything is asleep – in the morning hush just a gold sea seen shortly in the rye, and where a freshed eye looks there is a fluttering stillness, and wide.

Ride to the hill – past it is a village with a clear green church.

Higher, the Big House… crack-canted roofs, no gardens, creeks – in the stunty grove lime and hazel overgrow apart, and past it, by the pond, a sluice…

Bare picture! Dear picture!

Reapers tramp sickled to the fields, birds sing, sing in the limes, a hackhorse, its shabby hand, cows cross, hooting.

It’s hot… day lifts, redder, redder, a little, a little.

Ride to the bigger road – there a cartcreaking loadline, crackwillows, and along the blazed way rattling this news and that news from other lands… and there, little Russian track, you whisper away.

A little track, thin, skew, runs through Russia, on, on, border-blind – at the wide road, a gate ahead, behind, dust and milestones… look, on the right, there, my path rolls again like a patterned ribbon, fitful, wayward.

 

The Fern Owl

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Tree

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for far away as the fern owl for the all-asking, all-shifting sky.

Tree

When my door is shut and my lamp is out and I sit lapped in evening’s breath,

I feel around me, around me brush branches, tree branches.

In my room, where I am only, the tree spreads lint-soft shadow.

Lives quiet, grows well, becoming what some Un-me plans.

Some force-Thing, some hidden Push has laid its will in the treeroot store.

Sometimes scared, I uneasy ask:

And are we friends, and safe?

But it lives calm, grows on, not my work, not my where.

Sweet and spellbound, to live so near someonething unknown…

We Sleepy Children

One white sail slides at the louring shore, like a tired trailing bird for its night nest, and up there in the widening sky a glowed evening cloud drifts blank, like the start of sleep…

And now we turn again, we sleepy children, back home and near, and smooth thought from our faces, doing from our hands, and leave them to wan like forgotten games, loose them for real things, and bend blind-faithed to a strange mother’s knee.

 

We Sleepy Children

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for far away as the fern owl for the all-asking, all-shifting sky.

Tree

When my door is shut and my lamp is out and I sit lapped in evening’s breath,

I feel around me, around me brush branches, tree branches.

In my room, where I am only, the tree spreads lint-soft shadow.

Lives quiet, grows well, becoming what some Un-me plans.

Some force-Thing, some hidden Push has laid its will in the treeroot store.

Sometimes scared, I uneasy ask:

And are we friends, and safe?

But it lives calm, grows on, not my work, not my where.

Sweet and spellbound, to live so near someonething unknown…

We Sleepy Children

One white sail slides at the louring shore, like a tired trailing bird for its night nest, and up there in the widening sky a glowed evening cloud drifts blank, like the start of sleep…

And now we turn again, we sleepy children, back home and near, and smooth thought from our faces, doing from our hands, and leave them to wan like forgotten games, loose them for real things, and bend blind-faithed to a strange mother’s knee.

 

My Skin is Full of Butterflies

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After-Dead

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Cat

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Cats

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Owls

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The Albatross

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Undone

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