Issue 38 |
Winter 1985

Contributors' Notes

by Staff



DeWitt Henry

Peter O'Malley

Coordinating Editor for This Issue

Stratis Haviaras

Managing Editor

Susannah Lee


Anna Akhmatova / trans. Judith Hemschemeyer. Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966), one of the great Russian poets of the 20th century, had a career spanning 55 years. Her early, startlingly original love lyrics won her almost instant fame, but she went on writing equally strong poetry through WWI, the Revolution, the Stalin years, WWII, and the Cold War. Many of her poems with political content have not been published in the USSR. The poems in this selection are from her early books; Zh 113 is from
White Flock (1917); Zh 234 is from
Plantain (1921); and Zh 244, 255, and 290 are from
Ano Domini MCMXXI (1922).

    Judith Hemschemeyer's most recent book of poetry,
Very Close and Very Slow, was published in 1975 by Wesleyan University Press. Her complete translation of Akhmatova, numbering more than 700 poems, is scheduled for publication in 1986 by Zephyr Press, Somerville, Mass. It will be a two-volume, bilingual edition, including notes and a chronology.

Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen / trans. Lisa Sapinkopf. Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen is the author of over ten volumes of poetry as well as translations, short stories, children's books, and a study of Greek sculpture. These poems are selected from her collection, entitled
Coral. She is the recipient of the Grande Premio da Literature Portuguesa.

Stanislaw Baranczak / trans. Richard Lourie. Stanislaw Baranczak, poet and scholar in exile, teaches Polish language and literature at Harvard University. His most recent publication in his native language is a study on the poetry of Zbigniew Herbert, which will also appear in English.

Sven Birkerts / Sven Birkerts' astute literature essays and smaller articles on paraliterary and other attitudes, have been increasingly visible in select national and small press periodicals. He is at work on a book about contemporary poetry and poetics.

Yves Bonnefoy / trans. Lisa Sapinkopf. Yves Bonnefoy, one of France's most esteemed living poets, is also renowned for his translations of Shakespeare and Yeats, and for his works on art history. These poems are selected from his book,
Yesterday's Barren Kingdom. His
Poems 1959-1975, (translated by Richard Pevear), was published last June by Random House.

    Lisa Sapinkopf's translations have appeared, or are forthcoming, in the Partisan Review, Translation, Modern Poetry in Translation, and the Mississippi Review. She was the recipient of the Columbia Translation Award in 1983, and teaches Portuguese and French at the University of Washington.

André Breton / trans. Richard Tillinghast. Andre Breton (1896-1966), was the founder of Surrealism.
The Poems of Andre Breton, a Bilingual Anthology, Translated by Mary Anne Caws and Jean Pierre Cauvin, was published in 1982 by the University of Texas Press at Austin.

    Richard Tillinghast, guest editor of Ploughshares, Vol. 9, #2&3, teaches at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. His most recent book of poetry,
Our Flag was Still There, was published by Wesleyan in 1984.

Italo Calvino / trans. Ruth Feldman. Italo Calvino was born in Cuba in 1923 of Italian parents, and died in Siena, Italy, last fall, shortly after mailing to us his "Letter from the Sahara," and just weeks before his scheduled Charles Eliot Norton lectures at Harvard. In 1945 he joined the Italian Resistance, and in 1945 the Communist Party together with fellow writers Cesare Pavese and Elio Vittorini, but withdrew in 1957. He is the author of many stories and novels, the most recent of which, If on a Winter's Night a Traveler, and Mr. Palomar, were published in William Weaver's translation by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. In an accompanying letter, Calvino wrote that "Letter from the Sahara" is a page "from life."

Raymond Carver / Raymond Carver, whom Cambridge University's Frank Kermode declared master of the short form, first took the critics by surprise with the publication of his first major collection of stories,
Will you Please be Quiet Please? There followed
What we Talk About when we Talk about Love, Fires, and
Cathedral (Knopf, 1983), elevating Carver to international prominence. In 1985, Random House published,
Where Water Comes Together with Water, a book of poetry. The poems in this issue are from a new manuscript, scheduled to appear in May from Random House, under the title

C.P. Cavafy / trans. Martin McKinsey. Thirty-six "notes," twenty-nine in Greek, and seven in English, written by C.P. Cavafy (1863-1933), between 1902 and 1911, were originally collected and edited with an introduction and notes by George Savidis, the literary scholar and Cavafy archivist. The little book, entitled by its editor
Unpublished Notes on Poetics and Ethics, was published in Athens by Hermes in 1983, the 50th anniversary of the poet's death. C.P. Cavafy's
Complete Poems, translated into English by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard, have been published by Princeton.

    Martin McKinsey's translations of poems by Elytis, Ritsos, and Engonopoulos have appeared in several literary magazines.

Wei Chuang / trans. Robin D.S. Yates. Wei Chuang Chinese poet, 834 or 836-910 (see translator's preface).

    Robin D.S. Yates is a sinologist, teaching at Harvard. His translation of Wei Chuang's poetry, with an extensive introduction, and notes, will be published in the near future.

Sonia Coutinho / trans. Lisa Sapinkopf. Sonia Coutinho is a Brazilian short story writer, novelist, translator, and journalist, whose book,
Lucrecia's Poisons, won the Jabuti Prize for best volume of short fiction published in Brazil.

Blaga Dimitrova / trans. Jascha Kessler & Alexander Shurbanov. Blaga Dimitrova, born in 1922, is the author of some of the most impassioned love poems in the Bulgarian language, but her recent books have been increasingly meditative and dramatic. "Introduction to the Beyond" is from a suite of poems entitled
A Requiem, which the poet composed for her father.

    Jascha Kessler, the translator of four volumes of poetry and fiction from various languages, including Geza Csath's short stories,
Opium (Peguin 1983), is a poet and fiction writer, whose most recent stories are gathered in his books,
Classical Illusions, and

    Alexander Shurbanov, Professor of English, and Dean of the Faculty of Letters at Sofia University, was in 1980-82 Visiting Professor of Slavics at UCLA.

Rami Ditzani / trans. Ruth Whitman. Rami Ditzani lives and writes in Jerusalem. These poems are from his first collection.
Poems from the World of the Crippled in Spirit, published in 1984.

Alan Dugan / Alan Dugan's
New and Collected Poems, 1961-1983, was published by Ecco in 1983. Dugan, who is serving on the poetry board of the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, has won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

Odysseus Elytis / trans. Martin McKinsey. The poetry of Odysseus Elytis (Nobel Prize 1979), is available in English in the following volumes:

The Axion Esti, by Odysseus Elytis, translated by Edmund Keeley and George Savidis, Pittsburgh University Press, 1980.

The Sovereign Sun, Selected Poems by Odysseus Elytis, translated by Kimon Friar, Ohio University Press, 1979.

Odysseus Elytis, Selected Poems, translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard, Viking, 1982.

Maria Nephele, by Odysseus Elytis, translated by Athan Anagnostopoulos, Houghton Mifflin, 1983.

Silvio Fiorani / trans. Lisa Sapinkopf. Silvio Fiorani, Jr. is a Brazilian author of three novels and one book of short stories. Over twenty of his stories have appeared in prestigious papers, journals, and anthologies. He is a regular contributor to Sao Paulo's leading newspaper and literary journal, Afinal and O Escritor.

Graham Greene / Graham Greene, who was in the staff of The Times from 1926 to 1940, and served in the Foreign Office during WWII, is the author of many important novels, several of which were made into movies. Critics often refer to a turning point in his writing when he converted to Catholicism, and often wonder as to why he continues to elude the Nobel Committee. His first work,
Babbling April, appeared in 1925. His latest published novel is
The Tenth Man (Simon & Schuster, 1985).

Margherita Guidacci / trans. Ruth Feldman. Margherita Guidacci, born in Florence in 1921, is a leading Italian poet. She has translated into her native language Elizabeth Bishop and has taught English and American literature.

Eugene Guillevic / trans. Norman Shapiro. Guillevic, born in 1907, is a major French poet, whose works in English translation include:

Selected Poems, by Eugene Guillevic, translated by Denise Levertov, New Directions, 1969.

Selected Poems, by Eugene Guillevic, translated by Teo Savory, Penguin, 1974.

Euclidians, translated by Teo Savory, Unicorn Press, 1975

    Norman Shapiro's translations of French novels, plays and poems have been widely published, the most recent of which,
Fables from Old French: Aesop's Beasts and Bumpkins, appeared in 1984. His new collection of verse translations of the French fable over the ages includes many poets, ancient and modern.

Günther Grass / trans. Bruce Berlind. Günther Grass, who is mainly a novelist, is the author of
The Tin Drum, Local Anesthetic, The Flounder, and
The Meeting at Telgte.

    Bruce Berlind's translation of
Selected Poems of Agnes Nemes Nagy was published by the International Writing Program of the University of Iowa in 1980. He is currently editing a special, translation issue of Graham House Review.

Hafiz / trans. Elizabeth Gray. Khwaja Shams ud-Din Muhammad Hafiz-i Shirazi (1325-1389) is acknowledged to be the unrivalled master of the Persian ghazal, a lyric form roughly equivalent to the English sonnet in length, intensity, and complexity.

    Elizabeth Gray is a corporate lawyer. More of her translations from the Persian have appeared in The Agni Review, Antaeus, and The Falcon.

Stratis Haviaras/Editor of this issue. Stratis Haviaras is the author of five books of poetry (four of them in Greek), and two novels:
When the Tree Sings, and
The Heroic Age, published by Simon & Schuster (and Penguin, 1985).

Seamus Heaney/Irish poet and essayist Seamus Heaney is Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard University. His most recent books are
Sweeney Astray (1985 PEN Translation Prize), and
Station Island, both published by Farrar Straus & Giroux. Heaney was the editor of a Transatlantic writing issue (Vol. 6, No. 1) and a special poetry issue (Vol. 10, #1) of

Miroslav Holub/trans. David Young and the author. These are new poems, written during Miroslav Holub's stay in the United States in the spring of 1985. His most recent collection in English, still unpublished in Czech, is
Interferon, or, on Theater, translated by David Young and the author, and published in the Field Translation Series (#7).

    David Young's new collection of poems,
Foraging, will be published early in 1986 by Wesleyan. He is an editor of Field, and he teaches at Oberlin College.

Friedrich Hebbel/trans. Jay Boggis. Friedrich Hebbel (1813-1863), wrote plays, stories, and poems. These and many more aphorisms and observations were selected by the translator from throughout Hebbel's diaries, one of Kafka's favorite books. Hebbel also wrote longer entries, whch are autobiographical or amount to short essays on aesthetics. Many of his little stories or situations were sketches for plays he never wrote.

    Jay Boggis teaches expository writing at Harvard, and is finishing a novel about Vietnam.

Vyacheslav Ivanov/trans. Richard Lourie. Vyacheslav Ivanov (1866-1949), poet and philosopher, was an important member of the Russian Symbolist movement.

Nicolai Kantchev/trans. Jascha Kessler & Alexander Shurbanov. Nicolai Kantchev, born in 1938, is one of the leading younger poets of Bulgaria. Kessler and Shurbanov have completed translating a selection of his poems, called
Medusa, which is scheduled to appear in 1986 in the Quarterly Review of Literature Poetry Series.

Naum Korzhavin/trans. Richard Lourie. Naum Korzhavin, poet and play-wright, was born in Kiev in 1925. He left the USSR in 1973, and he now lives in Boston.

    Richard Lourie has translated works by Czeslaw Milosz, Tadeusz Kowincki, Yuri Trifonov, and Vladimir Voinovich, but he is primarily a fiction writer. His most recent novel,
First Loyalty, was published last fall by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Ryszard Krynicki/trans. Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh. Krynicki, born in 1943, is one of the most prominent poets of today's Poland. He is the author of several books of poetry. In recent years he has been writing almost exclusively very brief poems such as these, which are part of a forthcoming collection from Mr. Cogito Press.

    Stanislaw Baranczak is a poet and scholar, writing in Polish.

    Clare Cavanagh is a graduate student of Slavic literatures at Harvard.

Karl Krolow/trans. Stuart Friebert. Karl Krolow is the author of more than twenty volumes of poetry. He has also written criticism and fiction. His translations from the French, Spanish, and occasionally American, are distinguished by wide literary culture and immaculate technique. Krolow lives in Darmstadt, West Germany.

    Stuart Friebert has translated Karl Krolow's
On Account of: Selected Poems, which was published last fall as #10 in the Field Translation Series. His own books of poetry include
Uncertain Health, Up in Bed, and
Dreaming of Floods. He is an editor of Field, and he teaches at Oberlin.

Primo Levi/trans. Ruth Feldman. Primo Levi was born in Turin in 1919. His collection of concentration camp stories, entitled
Moments of Reprieve, will be published this winter in Ruth Feldman's translation, by Simon & Schuster. Levi, a survivor of Auschwitz, is the author of several important novels depicting the extermination of the Jews. All these poems here are from
At an Uncertain Hour.

Naguib Mahfouz/trans. James Kenneson with Soad Sobhi and Essam Fatouh. Naguib Mahfouz is the Arab world's foremost fiction writer. Heinemann has published two of his books,
Midaq Alley and
Miramar, and is preparing his vast trilogy, the first volume of which,
Between two Castles, was scheduled to appear last fall.
Alleways, written in 1975, is the story of a boy growing up in the Cairo of 1919 to 1930, the period of Mahfouz's own boyhood there. The entire book in translation will be published in 1986 by Three Continents Press.

    James Kenneson, a fiction writer, coaches drama, creative writing, and basketball at the United World College of the American West. He translated
Alleyways during a two-year stay in Cairo, in collaboration with Soad Sobhi and Essam Fatouh, both Egyptian scholars.

Stein Mehren/trans. Nadia Christensen. Stein Mehren is a well-established poet who has won various literary awards in Norway.

    Nadia Christensen has translated much poetry from the Danish, including several books published by Curbstone Press, and is currently translating poetry, drama, and fiction from the Norwegian.

James Merrill/James Merrill, born 1927, American poet, novelist, and playwright; author of the monumental work,
The Changing Light at Sandover, recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the Bollingen Prize. His most recent work is
Late Settings, published by Atheneum, last fall.

Michael Milburn/Michael Milburn's poems and essays have appeared in
Poetry, Missouri Review, and

Eugenio Montale/trans. Jonathan Galassi. Eugenio Montale (1896-1981), was considered the greatest Italian poet since Leopardi. In addition to six books of poetry, and his distinguished work as a journalist, Montale also published essays, stories and translations, and was a talented amateur painter. He was made a member for life of the Italian Senate in 1967, and in 1975 was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

    Jonathan Galassi is a poet, an editor at Random House in New York, and poetry editor of the Paris Review. His translation of
Otherwise: Last and First Poems of Eugenio Montale, was published in a bilingual edition in 1984, and Montale's selected essays.
The Second Life of Art, in 1981.

Henrik Nordbrandt/trans. Alexander Taylor and the author. Henrik Nordbrandt was born in Denmark in 1945, and lives much of the time in Greece and Turkey. The author of seventeen volumes of poetry, he has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including The Grand Prize of the Danish Academy. With Alexander Taylor, he co-translated three of his books into English:
Selected Poems, God's House, and
Armenia, all published by Curbstone Press, 321 Jackson Street, Willimantic, CT. 06226.

Robert Nozick/Robert Nozick is Professor of Philosophy at Harvard University. His first book,
Anarchy, State, and Utopia, won widespread acclaim and a National Book Award. His most recent book is
Philosophical Explanations (Harvard University Press, 1981). "Theological Explanations" was delivered as the Henry Rapaport Lecture at Jewish Theological Seminary.

Ottó Orbán/trans. Jacsha Kessler & Maria Körösy. Ottó Orbán, born in 1936, is the author of seven volumes of poetry. His translations into the Hungarian language include a volume of selected poems and plays by Robert Lowell, and another by American, English, French, German, Russian, and Spanish poets, entitled
Golden Fleece. Orbán, who also writes nursery rhymes, was a fellow at the Iowa International Writers Program.

Miriam Oren/trans. Ruth Whitman. Miriam Oren is a well-known critic, fiction writer, and poet, who lives in Tel Aviv. She has recently published her fourth collection of poems.

    Ruth Whitman, author and translator of seven books of poetry, was Senior Fulbright Writer-in-Residence in Jerusalem in 1984-85.

Cesare Pavese/trans. Alan Williamson. These two poems are taken from Cesare Pavese's last sequence, "Death will come and look at me with your eyes," written a few months before his suicide in 1950 (he was born in 1908). They come out of an unhappy love affair with an American movie actress. Constance Dowling; Pavese was better known in his lifetime for his novels, (the Strega Prize, 1950), than for his poetry. His most celebrated work of poetry,
Hard Labor (translated into English by William Arrowsmith), was written in the 1930s when he was in village exile under Mussolini. Pavese also wrote journals, and he translated many English and American works into his native tongue.
The Selected Works of Cesare Pavese, translated by R.W. Flint, was published in 1968 by Farrar Straus & Giroux.

Vasko Popa/trans. Charles Simic. Vasko Popa, whose poetry has been translated throughout Europe, is the author of
Homage to the Lame Wolf: Selected Poems 1956-75, Translation & Introduction by Charles Simic, Field Translation Series #, 1979.

    Charles Simic, editor of the next issue of
Ploughshares, is the author of eight books of poetry, including
Selected Poems, published last fall by Braziller. He teaches at the University of New Hampshire.

Jean Baptiste Racine/trans. Richard Wilbur. Racine, French playwright, 1639-1699 (see translator's preface).

    Richard Wilbur, American poet, recipient of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for his own work, and the Bollingen Prize for his translations.

Jacques Rigaut/trans. Ron Horning. Jaques Rigaut, a younger member of the dada and surrealist movements was born in 1899, and shot himself through the heart on November 5, 1929.

    Ron Horning lives in New York City, where he works on a first novel. He translates from the French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Yannis Ritsos/trans. Edmund Keeley. Yannis Ritsos was born in 1909 in Monemvasia, Greece. He is the author of many books of poetry, translated into many European languages, and the recipient of many international awards, including the Lenin Prize in 1977. Translations into English include:

Ritsos in Parentheses, Trans. & Introduction by Edmund Keeley, Princeton University Press, 1979.

Twelve Songs for the Biter Motherland. Translated by Theophanis Stavrou, Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1979.

    Edmund Keeley is the author of five novels, the most recent of which,
A Wilderness Called Peace, appeared last fall from Simon & Schuster. His translations from the Greek, in collaboration with Philip Sherrand or George Savidis, include, poets, C.P. Cavafy, George Seferis, Odysseus Elytis, and Angelos Sikelianos. A new selection from eight Ritsos volumes was published last fall in Keeley's translation by Ecco Press, under the title
Exile and Return: Selected Poems 1967-1974.

Rocco Scotellaro/trans. Ruth Feldman and Brian Swann. Rocco Scotellaro was born in 1923 in Tricarico of Southern Italy, and was of peasant origin. At twenty-three he was elected the first socialist mayor of his town. He died in 1953 at the age of thirty, and his poetry was published posthumously.

    Ruth Feldman and Brian Swann are poets, and the translators of several books of Italian verse, including
The Dawn is Always New, Selected Poetry of Rocco Scotellaro, Princeton University Press, 1980.

George Seferis/trans. Athan Anagnostopoulos. George Seferis (1900-1971), was the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1961. An expanded edition of his Collected Poems, Translated, Edited, and Introduced by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard, was published in 1981 by Princeton University Press. Also in English:
Three Secret Poems, Translated by Walter Kaiser, Harvard University Press, 1969, and
A Poet's Journal: Days of 1945-1951, Translated by Athan Anagnostopoulos, Harvard University Press, 1974. The two entries published here are from
A Poet's Journal: Days of 1925-1931.

    Athan Anagnostopoulos' translation of Seferis' novel,
Six Nights on the Acropolis, will be published in 1986.

Jaroslav Seifert/trans. Ewald Osers. Jaroslav Seifert is the recipient of the 1984 Nobel Prize for literature. The poems appearing here come from his latest collection,
To be a Poet, published in Prague in 1983.

    Ewald Osers is the translator of Seifert's
The Plague Column, Terra Nova Editions, London & Boston, 1979; An
Umbrella from Piccadilly, London Magazine Editions, 1983; and the forthcoming
Selected Poems (from 18 original volumes), from Macmillan.

Kirsti Simonsuuri/trans. Jascha Kessler and the author. Kirsti Simonsuuri, born in 1945 in Helsinki, is the author of three collections of poems, fiction (J.H. Erkko Prize for the best first novel published in Finland in 1980), and a monograph on the Homeric tradition. She has translated into Finnish two novels by Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath's

Abraham Sutskever/trans. Ruth Whitman. Abraham Sutskever was a freedom fighter in the Vilna Ghetto in 1944. Author of a dozen books of poetry, he now lives in Israel, where he edits the prestigious Yiddish journal The Golden Chain.

Deszö Tandori/trans. Bruce Berlind. Deszö Tandori was born in 1938. Playwright, graphics artist, and translator from a score of literatures, he is principally one of the leading poets of his generation in Hungary.

Volodia Teitelboim/trans. Gregory Rabassa. Volodia Teitelboim's novel,
Internal War, deals with the military takeover of Chile. The first section published here is a surmise of Pinochet's musings before the coup; the second one represents Pablo Neruda's thoughts as he is dying. Teitelboim, a Chilean author, was a very close friend of the poet, and has recently brought out a book about him.

    Gregory Rabassa is the master translator of Latin American fiction into English, including all the novels and stories of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He teaches at Columbia University.

Georg Trakl/trans. Thomas Frick. Austrian poet Georg Trakl, 1887-1914, served during WWI in Galicia as a medical corps lieutenant. After the battle of Grodek, he broke down and was sent to a military hospital at Krakow as a possible schizophrenic. He died there of an overdose of cocaine at the age of 27.

    Thomas Frick has edited an anthology of landscape and earth related texts, called,
The Sacred Theory of Earth, and published by North Atlantic Books.

Tomas Tranströmer/trans. Robert Bly. Tranströmer was born in Stockholm in 1931. He is one of the most highly regarded Swedish poets writing today. He has given readings in the United States on many occasions, and his work has been translated into English by Robert Bly, May Swenson, Samuel Charters, and Robin Fulton (his
Tomas Tranströmer: Selected Poems, published by Ardis in 1981).

    Robert Bly, whose most recent collection of poems was published last fall by Dial Press under the title
Loving a Woman in Two Worlds, has translated poetry from many languages. A volume of his translations from the Swedish,
Friends, you Drank Some Darkness, was published by Beacon Press in 1975.

István Vas/trans. Jascha Kessler & Maria Körösy. Born in 1910, in Budapest, István Vas has been an editor at a publishing house since 1946. A two-volume edition of his collected poems,
What does this Man Want? appeared in 1970, and his
Self-Portrait from the Seventies, in 1975. Vas is considered to be one of the major poets alive in Hungary today.

Evgeny Vinokurov/trans. Richard Lourie. Evgeny Kinokurov was born in 1925. He is a popular poet in the USSR.