Centres of Cataclysm celebrates the fifty-year history of Modern Poetry in Translation, one of the world’s most innovative and exciting poetry magazines. Founded in 1965 by Ted Hughes and Daniel Weissbort, MPT has constantly introduced courageous and revolutionary poets of the 20th and 21st century to English-speaking readers. Ted Hughes thought of MPT as an ‘airport for incoming translations’ – from the whole world, across frontiers of space and time. These are poems we cannot do without.
The anthology is not arranged chronologically but, from a variety of perspectives, it addresses half a century of war, oppression, revolution, hope and survival. In so doing, it truthfully says and vigorously defends the human. In among the poems are illuminating letters, essays and notes on the poets, on the world in which they lived and on the enterprise of translating them.
‘MPT seeks a real diversity of voices: women and men equally, different centuries, countries, races, creeds, languages, cultures, ideas. The very essence of the founding principle was: Your view is not the only one.’ – David & Helen Constantine
‘The burning heart of cataclysm at the centre of the anthology is drawn out; through translation, migration and exile, it is transplanted into another soil. The word spoken under duress becomes a word of affirmation: a protection and a stating of our own humanity.’ – Sasha Dugdale
‘MPT is the Fifth International, anyone who wants to change the world and see it changed should join.’ – John Berger
‘The book is a snapshot history of the violent age in which we live and a fascinating introduction to some of the most important poets of the last 50 years, including Miroslav Holub, Vasko Popa, Mahmoud Darwish, Paolo Pasolini, Paul Celan and Attila Jozsef.’ – Andy Croft, Morning Star [on Centres of Cataclysm]
‘The work is deliberately universalizing – ‘the anguish of each is the anguish of all’. In today’s society such a message is timely and necessary. The poems selected are stunning in themselves, but the collection becomes an overwhelmingly beautiful testament to humanity’s ability to endure, to create from nothing. At every second ‘the word spoken under duress becomes a word of affirmation: a protecting and stating of our own humanity’.’ – Tilly Nevin, The Oxford Culture Review