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.
What usually happens after is I shut up shop for a year or so, and have to put up with a bit of a dead stretch. Prose or poem, if you’re lucky enough, as I have always been, to translate a good writer, it surely has to expand your horizons.
I console myself by thinking it’s an attempt to move on to somewhere else. Having overcome one problem in translation equips you better for the next, and may even help with obstacles in your own writing. Three of your picks are from 2018, and two are from 2010.
It looks to me like one of the strongest collections I’ve read for some time. It was written in his early twenties, and he already seemed fully formed as a poet.
Even there he moves between cultures and languages with ease and rapidity, in a way none of his contemporaries would have thought of doing, or been able to.He’s doing his thing, which he does very well, but he’s not setting himself this problem.That’s not intended as disapproval: Lowell’s work is mostly fun for everyone else; it’s enriching, and he brings something to it. I’ve translated from languages I don’t know and those that I do.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.What should be a democratising medium creates its own little hierarchies.It includes a clear-eyed and courageous sequence ‘From the Cancer Diary’ and a great deal else.The other, another extraordinary book, not on my list because it’s in Italian, and I’m her translator, is Antonella Anedda’s interrogates issues of race, gender, sexuality and politics in America.You might say better him than a talentless person who know the language. Translating from a language you don’t know is quite liberating, because you aren’t accountable to the same extent.But he’s using other people’s translations to create his art. However, my feeling is that you do a better job—or at least I do—knowing the other language.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.