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One of the Guardian Unlimited Books' top 10 literary blogs: "A home-grown treasure ... smart, serious analysis"

The Bookaholics' Guide to Book Blogs: "Mark Thwaite ... has a maverick, independent mind"

Friday 05 May 2006

April's Poetry

Always a pleasure when an issue of Poetry magazine lands on the mat. The April issue has just arrived here (as you'd expect, it takes a wee while to get over here to sunny Manchester!) and is a special Translation issue in celebration of America's National Poetry Month. New translations of Stéphane Mallarmé, Bertolt Brecht, Wislawa Szymborska, Jorge Luis Borges, Rainer Maria Rilke, and others by Seamus Heaney, Richard Wilbur, Michael Hofmann, Aleksandar Hemon, W.S. Merwin, Dana Gioia, A.E. Stallings, Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky, Marilyn Hacker and Carolyne Wright. Each translated poem is accompanied by a small (couple of hundred words) article by the translator explaining how and why they've made the decisions they've made when re-wording and re-working the original work. It's really fascinating stutt and there is some wonderful poems collected here. Reminded me of the very fine issue of Agenda (Translation as Metamorphosis; Vol.40 No.4) that came out back in 2004.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Serendipoetry

Memorial Tablet

Squire nagged and bullied till I went to fight,
(Under Lord Derby’s Scheme). I died in hell—
(They called it Passchendaele). My wound was slight,
And I was hobbling back; and then a shell
Burst slick upon the duck-boards: so I fell
Into the bottomless mud, and lost the light.

At sermon-time, while Squire is in his pew,
He gives my gilded name a thoughtful stare:
For, though low down upon the list, I’m there;
‘In proud and glorious memory’... that’s my due.
Two bleeding years I fought in France, for Squire:
I suffered anguish that he’s never guessed.
Once I came home on leave: and then went west...
What greater glory could a man desire?

-- Siegfried Sassoon
Collected Poems (Faber and Faber)

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