The Other Voice Essays On Modern Poetry

Looking for recent collections of poetry to read this year? It’s the same old pen and page, or stylus and parchment, as ever, regardless of the different ways it gets distributed or read.

Just as hard one day, and easy the next, as fate or luck or effort decides.

Noise it would be best to switch off before trying to write a poem.

You’ve just released a new collection of poetry, Tell me a bit about it. My life story, such as it is, hasn’t been a central feature of any of my collections, though it might enter at the margin of quite a few poems or prompt them.

Often a worse one: the tweet of 240 characters is not a useful way of discussing issues of any aesthetic or political complexity, and too often results in mobbing, take-downs and self-righteous conformism.

Childminding Business Plan - The Other Voice Essays On Modern Poetry

What should be a democratising medium creates its own little hierarchies.

This might sound like an ethical point but it isn’t really, it’s more a question of temperament. Is it governed by time, or more by theme—how do you know when it’s ready? In the case of this collection, I dropped a few after I’d submitted it—in agreement with my editor—but then smuggled in two or three latecomers, which I realised the book needed.

Most of my books have, however, ended up around the same length, and that may be mainly to do with what I was trying to say before: that I can see a shape to it. And that could have, and certainly has had in more than a couple of my books, a thematic element—volcanoes in one, prisons, invasions and obituaries in another. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of prose translation, and have just finished the six books that make up Giorgio Bassani’s : that’s a lot of words, of work, a lot of hours, of months sitting uncomfortably at the screen. If anyone notices the translator, it’s often enough to deliver a reprimand. I’ve translated books of poems by Valerio Magrelli and Antonella Anedda, and among other things a verse play by Pier Paolo Pasolini.

Perhaps translation is a way of escaping from the self, or personality, to adapt Eliot’s remark about poetry.

If you’re translating a poem, you have to adjust to that other voice.


Comments The Other Voice Essays On Modern Poetry

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