Holy Sonnet XIV: “Batter my heart, three-person’d God” by John Donne

It seems remiss on my part that I’ve written nine poem essays for this site so far and not one of them has been about John Donne. After all, Donne is one of my favorite poets, and one of the writers who got me interested in poetry in the first place. It’s almost as ifContinue reading “Holy Sonnet XIV: “Batter my heart, three-person’d God” by John Donne”

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“L’invitation au voyage” by Charles Baudelaire, translated by Richard Wilbur

Translation can be a controversial topic, and poetry translation is even more so. In any act of translation, the obstacles posed by the two languages’ differing histories, cultural contexts, and nuances of meaning can be almost insurmountable. Add to that the fact that the very existence of a poem depends on its being intimately involved with the features of its own language. Sound, rhythm, denotation, connotation, and even the histories of individual words or phrases can all carry meaning. To move a poem from one language to another and keep the poetic aspects of it is nearly impossible. Some believe that it is impossible. I personally prefer to take a more optimistic view: will Baudelaire in English ever be the same as Baudelaire in French? Of course not. Can we hope that some intrepid Anglophone might create for us, if not the same thing, at least something similar to the experience of Baudelaire in French? I think so.

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“The Bowl-Maker” by C. P. Cavafy

On this wine-bowl—beaten from the purest silver, made for Herakleides’ white-walled home where everything declares his perfect taste— I’ve placed a flowering olive and a river, and at its heart, a beautiful young man who will let the water cool his naked foot forever. O memory: I prayed to you that I might make hisContinue reading ““The Bowl-Maker” by C. P. Cavafy”

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Six Poems about Fathers That Aren’t Robert Hayden’s “Those Winter Sundays”

Before I say anything else, let me make it clear that this post’s headline does NOT mean that I think there is anything wrong with “Those Winter Sundays.” On the contrary, Hayden was a genius and that poem is one of the greats. And because it’s so great, it’s starting to become over-familiar. For this list, I wanted to branch out into a few less famous poems, and highlight some modern work that I think is interesting along the way. Sounds OK? Good, let’s begin.

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National Poetry Month 2018

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. In case you didn’t know, April was National Poetry Month in the States. This year, same as last, I decided to celebrate by posting a different poem every day on Twitter. My post collecting all of last year’s poems got a great response, so here I am again withContinue reading “National Poetry Month 2018”

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“Glanmore Sonnets, X” by Seamus Heaney

I dreamt we slept in a moss in Donegal
On turf banks under blankets, with our faces
Exposed all night in a wetting drizzle,
Pallid as the dripping sapling birches.
Lorenzo and Jessica in a cold climate.
Diarmuid and Grainne waiting to be found.
Darkly asperged and censed, we were laid out
Like breathing effigies on a raised ground.
And in that dream I dreamt—how like you this?—
Our first night years ago in that hotel
When you came with your deliberate kiss
To raise us towards the lovely and painful
Covenants of flesh; our separateness;
The respite in our dewy dreaming faces.

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Poems for Valentine’s Day

Regardless of how you feel about the holiday in general, I hope that you won’t mind looking over some rather incredible poems on the subject of love.

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The Poets List

I’m always surprised at the ease with which some book bloggers can choose favorites. I find it very difficult to choose just one favorite book, or even one favorite prose writer among the dozens that I read often. Favorite poets, though, is another kettle of fish. After hearing one BookTuber talk about her favorite novel,Continue reading “The Poets List”

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“Epistle” by Li-Young Lee

Of wisdom, splendid columns of light waking sweet foreheads, I know nothing but what I’ve glimpsed in my most hopeful daydreams. Of a world without end, amen, I know nothing, but what I sang of once with others, all of us standing in the vaulted room. But there is wisdom in the hour in whichContinue reading ““Epistle” by Li-Young Lee”

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“Christmas Eve” by Christina Rossetti

Hello, all. I’m sure you’re super busy this week. I am too. That’s why I’m just dropping in to say Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and please read this poem. Christina Rossetti is always great, of course, but I’ve especially been enjoying her Advent poems lately. “Christmas Eve” by Christina Rossetti Christmas hath a darknessContinue reading ““Christmas Eve” by Christina Rossetti”

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On Translated Poetry

Thanks to Clarissa Akyroyd for pointing me toward this article from Cordite Poetry Review. It’s a little on the long side, but very good, so definitely check it out if you have the time. In case you don’t, the article deals mainly with the presentation of translated poetry in academia and the biases that preventContinue reading “On Translated Poetry”

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Poets in Translation

While you might already be celebrating Nonfiction November, as a few bloggers are, author and editor Molly Spencer has declared November Translated Poetry Month. As she explained on Twitter, the idea is simply to “Read & share the work of poets who’ve been translated into the language(s) you read. The goal is for all ofContinue reading “Poets in Translation”

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