January/Feburary Translations: Poetry

Continuing our ongoing project to list all works of fiction and poetry in translation coming out this year, here are a list of four new poetry collections coming out over the next month.

Andrei Codrescu’s intro to this volume is really interesting, placing Jebeleanu in the context of being Romania’s “epic poet” in the Ginsberg sense of a “socially engaged bard.” Jebeleanu’s life and career is pretty unique—he was a true believer in the socialist dream and became a favorite of Ceausescu’s. Although he had a falling out (for obvious reasons) he was still allowed to be published, since, as the translator explains in his preface, Ceausescu’s strategy was “cleverly to allow them just enough freedom to publish censored versions of their work, or to force them into exile.” This was Jebeleanu’s final collection before his death.

  • In Praise of the Unfinished, Julia Hartwig, translated from the Polish by John Carpenter and Bogdana Carpenter (Knopf, $25.00, 9780307267207)

From the Knopf website: “Hailed by Czeslaw Milosz as “the grande dame of Polish poetry” and named “one of the foremost Polish poets of the twentieth century” by Ryszard Kapuscinski, Julia Hartwig has long been considered the gold standard of poetry in her native Poland. With this career-spanning collection, we finally have a book of her work in English.”

  • Port Trakl, Jaime Luis Huenun, translated from the Spanish by Daniel Borzutzky (Action Books, $14.00, 9780979975509)

Forrest Gander’s blurb for this collection says it all: “First introduced to a U.S. audience by Cecilia Vicuna in 4 Mapuche Poets, Jaime Luis Huenun has become best-known through Daniel Borzutzky’s vivid, memorable translations. In these recent poems—published in 2001 in Chile—Huenun invents a setting influenced by Melville’s vivid scenarios, Coleridge’s languid morbidity, and George Trakl’s silences and darkening seas. Borzutzky’s English version is as haunted, brooding, and terrific as the original”

This is the first collection of Kim Hyesoon’s to appear in English. She’s the author of eight collections of poetry and recipient of the Kim Suyong Contemporary Poetry Award. The only thing I could find online about this book (aside from the listing at Small Press Distribution) is this quote from the blog Exoskeleton: “I mean what could be better than a Korean woman poet who writes poems about rats that eat their own children and a Mapuche-Chilean poet who writes an homage to everybody’s favorite opium-addicted German Expressionist poet. I should also say that Kim Hyesoon absolutely wrecks up the notions of “hard” vs “soft” Surrealism—with these deeply political fables about cute and very soft animals.”

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