In this issue of MPT

Getting it Across, Series 3 No.8

Edited by David Constantine, Helen Constantine

“Poems are bread on the waters, messages in bottles, they may land anywhere.” In this issue, the editors examine translation in a very fundamental sense: getting yourself across.

There are two articles on ‘signing’, the language of the deaf and dumb where they find that the language of the deaf “will have its own poetry, strange to the hearing observer, but persuasive too: a language without words, the whole body’s language, movingly expressive.”

The foremost contemporary Basque poet and novelist Bernardo Axtaga is featured, with two poems from the first of his novels Obabakoak to be published in English translation. Nobel prize winners, the Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral appears with a powerful poem 'The Foreigner', and Swedish Harry Martinson with 'News':


with the note itself as passenger
bobbed in the North Atlantic
for seventeen years.
Silently and continuously referred
to a giant steamer from Southampton.
Ran aground and froze in
in the ice round Labrador.

There are tributes to the great poet, essayist and translator Michael Hamburger together with four of his poems and twelve of his translations of the poems of Robert Walser.

A short note from Festival director Naomi Jaffa introduces the19th International Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, to be held 2-4 November 2007, with a characteristically diverse gathering of 30 poets: Polly Clark, Alice Oswald and Anne Stevenson; Americans Louise Jenkins, Anne Marie Macari and Gerald Stern; Ireland’s Joseph Woods and French Canadian Beverley Bie Brahic, to name but a few.

Other delights include new poems from Jenny Joseph, Pascale Petit and Oliver Reynolds and a reviews section in which new translations of Rilke by Don Paterson and Martyn Crucefix are examined.


EXPLORE THIS ISSUE:   » Editorial   » Poems   » Reviews

Series 3 No.8 - Getting it Across

Table of contents

In Getting it Across

Poetry and Features

Editorial David and Helen Constantine

Bernardo Atxaga, two poems, translated by Margaret Jull Costa from Basque

Gabriela Mistral, ‘The Foreigner’, translated by Arthur McHugh from Spanish (Chile)

Niyati Keni, Poetry in Four Dimensions concerns British Sign Language (BSL)

Helen and David Constantine, A Language without Words

Alyss Dye, ‘Word Blindness’

Moniza Alvi, ‘Writing at the Centre’

Saradha Soobrayen, One Foot in England and one Foot in Mauritius concerning Mauritian Creole

Oliver Reynolds, ‘Slip’

Pascale Petit, ‘I was born in the Larzac’

Annemarie Austin, ‘Dysphasias’

Gregory Warren Wilson, three poems

Pedro Serrano, four poems from ‘Still Life’, translated by Anna Crowe from Spanish

Stephanie Norgate, two haiku versions of Lucretius from Latin

Robin Fulton, four poems

Martha Kapos, two poems

Carole Satyamurti, three poems

Harry Martinson, five poems, translated by Robin Fulton from Swedish

Jenny Joseph, an essay and five poems, after paintings by Jaume Prohens

Martti Hynynen, five poems, translated by Mike Horwood from Finnish

Lucy Hamilton, extracts from a sonnet version of Lalla Maghnia from Arabic via French

Tsvetanka Elenkova, six poems, translated by Jonathan Dunne from Bulgarian

Tuğrul Tanyol, four poems, translated by Ruth Christie from Turkish

Jane Draycott, a translation of the first two sections of Pearl from Middle English

Naomi Jaffa, The Aldeburgh Poetry Festival

Poetry from Aldeburgh

Taha Muhammad Ali, three poems, translated by Peter Cole, Yahya Hijazi and Gabriel Levin from Arabic

Michael Hamburger, four poems

Robert Walser, twelve poems, translated by Michael Hamburger from German

Two Memorial Notes on Michael Hamburger by Anthony Rudolf and Iain Galbraith


Charlie Louth on Don Paterson, Martyn Crucefix and Rilke

Belinda Cooke on The Translator as Writer (edited Susan Bassnett and Peter Bush)

Jo Balmer, Shorter Reviews

Issue highlights

  • Niyati Keni on the poetry of the deaf
  • Poetry from the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival
  • Jane Draycott’s translation of the Middle-English 'Pearl'
  • From Sweden: Harry Martinson
  • Jenny Joseph’s interpretations of Jaume Prohens’ drawings
  • Memorial notes on Michael Hamburger and last translations

Featured review

Rilke's Duino Elegies and Don Paterson's Orpheus: A version of Rilke’s Die Sonette an Orpheus

By Rainer Maria Rilke
Translated by Martin Crucefix, Don Paterson
Reviewed by Charlie Louth

Probably no other twentieth-century collections of poetry have been translated into English more often than these two cycles; Amazon can currently find you at least twenty-one versions of the Duino Elegies and fifteen of the Sonnets to Orpheus.

Something of their aura comes from the myth-like circumstances of their composition: the first elegies taken down from a voice in the wind at Castle D...

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MPT has ... opened windows on landscapes of feeling, on insight otherwise inaccessible...George Steiner

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