Series 3 No.8 – Getting it Across

“Poems are bread on the waters, messages in bottles, they may land anywhere.” In this issue, the editors examine translation in a very fundamental sense: getting yourself across.

There are two articles on ‘signing’, the language of the deaf and dumb where they find that the language of the deaf “will have its own poetry, strange to the hearing observer, but persuasive too: a language without words, the whole body’s language, movingly expressive.”

The foremost contemporary Basque poet and novelist Bernardo Axtaga is featured, with two poems from the first of his novels Obabakoak to be published in English translation. Nobel prize winners, the Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral appears with a powerful poem ‘The Foreigner’, and Swedish Harry Martinson with ‘News’:

News

Bottle
with the note itself as passenger
bobbed in the North Atlantic
for seventeen years.
Silently and continuously referred
to a giant steamer from Southampton.
Ran aground and froze in
in the ice round Labrador.

There are tributes to the great poet, essayist and translator Michael Hamburger together with four of his poems and twelve of his translations of the poems of Robert Walser.

A short note from Festival director Naomi Jaffa introduces the19th International Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, to be held 2-4 November 2007, with a characteristically diverse gathering of 30 poets: Polly Clark, Alice Oswald and Anne Stevenson; Americans Louise Jenkins, Anne Marie Macari and Gerald Stern; Ireland’s Joseph Woods and French Canadian Beverley Bie Brahic, to name but a few.

Other delights include new poems from Jenny Joseph, Pascale Petit and Oliver Reynolds and a reviews section in which new translations of Rilke by Don Paterson and Martyn Crucefix are examined.