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Poetry in Translation Editor’s Note

Poetry is of disparate images that cohere in inexplicable ways to reveal new realities. We are privileged to present poetry in translation by two hauntingly lyrical voices from Europe: Ute von Funcke and Miecyzyslaw Jastrun  in this summer issue.

A contemporary German poet, von Funcke, finely translated into English by Stewart Friebert, takes us into a dark surreal landscape to illuminate memory’s final burst of light.  Her startling imagery recalls Georg Trakl as we step with her into her red canoe transporting us “to catch the hope/of those fleeing” before they vanish.

“I hear the voice of truth,” writes Miecyzyslaw Jastrun, one of the masterful Polish poets of the late 20th century, a voice which arises from both suffering and delight, and builds elegies encompassing beauty, anger, pain, fear and love. The human heart with its dark inner garden radiates circles of love’s light, the closest thing we have to immortality. Through these meticulous translations by Dzvinia Orlowsky and Jeff Friedman, we are reminded of how memory, made of broken images, constitutes both our identity and our common humanity.

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