A history of MPT

Modern Poetry in Translation (MPT) was founded in 1965 by Ted Hughes and Daniel Weissbort.

The first issue, twelve pages in broadsheet form on Bible paper, cost 2s 6d and presented poems by Yehuda Amichai, Zbigniew Herbert, Miroslav Holub, Ivan Lalić, Czesław Miłosz, Vasco Popa and Andrei Voznesensky in translations by, among others, Edwin Morgan, Anne Pennington, Dom Moraes and Daniel Weissbort. The designer was Richard Hollis, who stayed with MPT until the first issue of the Third Series, 2004.

From the start we saw our editorship as something like an airport for incoming translations, an agency for discovering new foreign poets and new translators, who then might pass inland to more permanent residences in published books. Daniel Weissbort

Ted Hughes founded Poetry International in 1967 and was its first director. MPT published poets appearing at the third Festival in 1970. The editors commented: ‘We are glad to be associated with the Poetry International in this way, as we feel it has responded to the same need that we have tried to meet in the magazine. Our activities have clearly complemented each other.’ That natural and valuable association continues today.

MPT has had a number of publishers. They include Cape, Carcanet, Anvil and King’s College London. From the very beginning MPT has been generously supported by the Arts Council. In 2004 Daniel Weissbort retired and passed the magazine to David and Helen Constantine. In 2013 the editorship passed to Sasha Dugdale. MPT has had very few changes in editorship: this is only the third in fifty years, and as a result the magazine has had a great consistency of tone and quality.

Early issues of MPT

Early issues of MPT

The first editors of MPT combined two achievements in one: they brought excellent poetry, particularly from Eastern Europe, into wider circulation in English in the West; and they confronted poets writing in English with work from abroad that would unsettle and inspire them. In different political landscapes, later editors have continued in the essential spirit and ambition of Hughes and Weissbort: to give good foreign work wider currency and to affect English poetry by confronting it with the foreign.

Sasha Dugdale will build on the work of the Constantines by continuing to publish the best poetry in the best translation. The magazine will appear three times a year from 2013, and the bold new design and layout is very much in the spirit of the original magazine: we will return to the bible paper of the first issues, and the iconic lettering and cover designs of the first MPT pamphlets.

All back issues from the Constantines' Third Series and some back issues from the Second 'New' Series of MPT, edited by Daniel Weissbort and Norma Rinsler, are still in print and available to buy in our online bookshop.

Ted Hughes

Ted Hughes

Ted Hughes (17 August 1930 – 28 October 1998) was an English poet, translator and children's writer. Critics routinely rank hi...

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Daniel Weissbort

Daniel Weissbort

Daniel Weissbort, FRSL, was born in 1935 and educated at St. Paul's School, London and Cambridge University. In 1965, with the...

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Always informative, tactfully surprising, the new impressive MPT continues, undaunted, to advance through formidable language barriers.Dannie Abse

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