Barbara Siegel Carlson

Poetry in Translation
Editors’ Note

This summer’s issue gathers an engaging and refreshing range of voices in translation.

Josip Osti brings a sensuous, multi-faceted as a diamond vision in these evocative and celebratory poems that are as a “tiny ray of sunlight[…]illuminating the life and death lines” that Martha Kosir has deftly rendered into English from Slovene.

Inspired by the art of Joseph Cornell, Maria Negroni’s magical prose poems open a window into the work and spirit of this mysterious and intriguing artist. Allison A. deFreese’s skillful  translations from Spanish help us feel the under-eroticism, homelessness and fragility in his art  in their “pursuit of the unattainable.”

Vasyl Makhno begins with a poem received in the hand of a fox’s claw leading us to wonder “What kind of witness is it..?” as multitudinous realities overlap and converge to form richly imagined versions of self and perception that keep us both dazzled and riveted through Olena Jennings fine translations from Ukraine.

Jacek Gutorow’s spare and ironic voice is both direct and elusive with understated perception, leading to the indeterminacy of all good poems. It’s the “one loose thread” that may be translated to a holy sigh through Piotr Florczyk’s sharp rendering.

Krystyna Dąbrowska’s poetic landscape is placed between the cartography of Elizabeth Bishop’s exactness of observation and Wisława Szymborska’s irony and tenderness; this brilliant combination allows Dąbrowska to use travel and everyday scraps of observations to pinpoint the heart of the matter.

Artur Grabowski’s series TRIPTYCH is a masterful ekphrasis in the prosody worthy of Hopkins’s sprang rhythm. Almost each one syllable word becomes a beat and reenacts “thisness” of things; so to say, semblance of felt life.

Davide Rondoni’s musical poems are faithful to the prosody of infinity’s daily visits via our carnality, sin, weaknesses, and hunger for love. These poems are on quest of detecting “God everywhere, his/tiger face, his gaze/of a woman who has given birth.” Rondoni’s poetry embraces tenderly brokenness of humanity.

Mariadonata Villa’s poems chase the small apparitions of light; the spots of mystery found in mundane errands of everyday life. For Villa poetry dwells in liminality and the peripheries of life. It lurks under the surfaces in order to grasp little flickers in reality which shake our confidence that things are just what we see.

We are grateful to such poets and translators as these for such deeply humanizing works in a time when we must remind ourselves that the imagination is alive and vital for its power in connecting us.

–Barbara Siegel Carlson and Ewa Chrusciel

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