In this issue of MPT

Transplants, Series 3 No. 13

Edited by David Constantine, Helen Constantine

The aim of Modern Poetry in Translation, since Ted Hughes and Daniel Weissbort founded the magazine, has been to bring foreign poetry into wider circulation in English translation and in doing so, to enrich us all. Translation can be thought of as the transplanting of a living thing out of its native time and place into somewhere foreign. There it may thrive or die. How can the subjects and forms of poetry be transplanted across time and space? Must they be modified? Or can the host culture be induced to accept them as they are? In this issue of MPT we show many of the ways and means by which a literary transplant's chances of survival may be increased. A most substantial and varied issue - more submissions were received for this issue than for any before - 'Transplants' brings together poets in translation from China, Alaska, Albania, Vietnam, Brazil, India, Ancient Greece and Rome, Israel and Estonia. Nor are the forms any less varied: epic poetry, tanka, elegy, ballad, sonnet and ghazal, rhyming and unrhyming poems and prose poems all appear here. Amongst many notable poets and translators included here are Marilyn Hacker with her translations of Tunisian Tahar Bekri; Miklos Radnoti translated from the Hungarian by Stephen Capus; Ruth Fainlight with her translations of Peruvian Blanca Varela; and the enchanting Estonian poet Kristina Ehin, whose Selected Poems in English translation was awarded the Poetry Society's Corneliu M. Popescu Prize for European Poetry in Translation, and whose new book, The Scent of Your Shadow, is forthcoming from Arc. Her translator is Ilmar Lehtpere. Also: new versions of ballads by Itzik Manger, of the French Grail legend, of the English Sir Orfeo (by Maureen Duffy), and of early Brecht. Plus translations of Rimbaud by James Kirkup and of Alaskan Native American songs by John Smelcer. A very great variety of work. The Reviews section is also rewarding: Roger Moulson, whose Waiting for the Night Rowers won the Aldeburgh Prize, appraises the great Yang Lian's new collection Lee Valley Poems (Bloodaxe Books), and Saradha Soobrayen's illuminating reviews include one of the Iraqi poet Adnan Al-Sayegh's The Deleted Part, translated by Stephen Watts and Marga Burgui-Artajo.

Paul Batchelor's 'Beauty' from 'Transplants' was the Guardian Saturday poem on May 22nd and can be read here.


EXPLORE THIS ISSUE:   » Editorial   » Poems   » Reviews

Series 3 No.13 - Transplants

Table of contents

In Transplants

Poetry and Features

Editorial David and Helen Constantine

James Kirkup, a tanka version of Rimbaud’s ‘Bannières de mai’ from French

Martin Bennett, In Memoriam James Kirkup 1918-2009, translations via Italian from the Japanese

Alexander Barash, four poems, translated by Alex Cigale from Russian

Yaroslav Mogutin, four poems, translated by Alex Cigale from Russian

Gábor T. Szántó, ‘whose tongue?’, translated by Dániel Dányi from Hungarian

Hubert Moore and Nasrin Parvaz, four translations from Farsi

John E. Smelcer, poems from the Ahtna Athabaskan language of Alaska

Maurice Riordan, three translations from Irish

Arthur McHugh, three translations from French

François Villon, two extracts from The Testament, translated by W.D. Jackson from French

Maureen Duffy, from a translation of Sir Orfeo from Middle English

Ajkuna’s Lament’, from the Epic of the Knights, translated by Robert Wilton from Albanian

Chrétien de Troyes, Le Conte du Graal, extracts from an English version by Rowan Middleton from the Medieval French

Carole Satyamurti, ‘Retelling the Mahabharata’, with an extract from the poem (from Sanskrit)

Timothy Allen, from Nguyên Du’s Đoạn Truờng Tân Thanh (from Vietnamese)

Siriol Troup, ‘After Goethe’, versions of Goethe’s ‘Wandrers Nachtlied’ (from German)

Oliver Reynolds, poems from Ludwig Uhland from German

Shazea Quraishi, two poems from The Courtesan’s Reply (from Hindi)

C.F.H. Smith, four poems from Greek and Latin

Carol Rumens, ‘Ice and Fire: sonnets for late-Elizabethan lovers (some from Italian)

Josephine Balmer, ‘Arria’s Wound’

Paul Batchelor, four poems after Baudelaire (from French)

William I. Elliott, ‘Translator/ Poet Perspectives’

Alison Brackenbury, ‘Transplanted’

Gregory Warren Wilson, ‘Himalayan Poppy’

András Mezei, five poems from Christmas in Auschwitz, translated by Thomas Ország-Land from Hungarian

Itzik Manger, four poems, translated by Murray Citron from Yiddish

Amir Or, ‘The City’, translated by Pascale Petit and the author from Hebrew

Norbert Hirschhorn, ‘My Cousin the Greenhorn’ from Yiddish

Tahar Bekri, ‘Epic of the thyme of Palestine’, translated by Marilyn Hacker from French

Sappho, ‘Fragment 96’, translated by Will Heath from Ancient Greek

Roger Moulson, six poems from The Greek Anthology

Horace III, 30, translated by Paul Harris from Latin

Du Fu, three poems, translated by Jonathan Waley from Chinese

Miklós Radnóti, four poems, translated by Stephen Capus from Hungarian

Four Afghan Poems, translated from the Persian by Zuzanna Olszewska (Farsi) 

Amina Saïd, two poems, translated by Marilyn Hacker from French

Alejandra Pizarnik, poems, translated by Cecilia Rossi from Spanish

Kristiina Ehin, seven poems, translated by Ilmar Lehtpere from Estonian

Francis Combes, four poems, translated by Alan Dent from French

Blanca Varela, four poems, translated by Ruth Fainlight from Spanish (Peru)

Amelia Rosselli, extracts from Variazioni belliche, translated by Cristina Viti from Italian

Brecht, ten poems, translated by David Constantine from German


Rowyda Amin on Marilyn Hacker’s Vénus Khoury-Ghata

Meryl Pugh on two anthologies of African poetry

Eric Ormsby on an anthology of modern Italian poetry and Anamaria Crowe Serrano’s Annamaria Ferramosca

Roger Moulson on Yang Lian

Saradha Soobrayen: Further Reviews

Issue highlights

  • Poems from Estonia
  • Epic poetry from Vietnam (The Story of Kiêu)
  • Albania (The Epic of the Knights)
  • Middle English (Sir Orfeo)
  • Medieval French (Le Conte du Graal)
  • New translations of Miklós Radnóti
  • Persian poems from Afghanistan
  • Poems from the dying Ahtna Athabaskan language of Alaska

Featured review

Alphabets of Sand

By Vénus Khoury-Ghata
Translated by Marilyn Hacker
Reviewed by Rowyda Amin

Although Alphabets of Sand draws together work from three previous collections by the French-Lebanese writer Vénus Khoury-Ghata, the style of the poems, which are all free verse narratives predominantly in long, loose lines, and the thematic preoccupations which are developed throughout this collection are consistent enough that the poems sit together harmoniously. The collection is compose...

» Read more

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