Fifty years ago poets Ted Hughes and Daniel Weissbort founded a magazine. They called it Modern Poetry in Translation and in it they planned to publish the best and most insistent work available to them in English translation. The first issue featured the work of poets who were not widely known, but who have since become established names in English-language poetry, available in many translations and editions, and celebrated across the world.
Hughes and Weissbort opened a door to these young poets, or as Ted Hughes put it, they were ‘an airport’ for the incoming translations of their work. The appearance of the work in this first issue of Modern Poetry in Translation was a historic moment in poetry publishing.
The original magazine, printed on Bible paper, is now very rare and very fragile, so we’ve put the whole first issue online for you read, study and enjoy. We’ve also added notes on the poets and translators and some notes on the troubled history of the period. Modern Poetry in Translation was a product of its time, a time of ‘cataclysm’ in Europe, and understanding the hopes and anxieties of the postwar and Cold War generation is key to understanding the importance of these poems and their reception in English-speaking countries.