Ginkgo Biloba

I entered my translation of this poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe for the 2021 Stephen Spender prize. Like all entries for this prize, it includes my commentary on the translation. The word Ginkgo seems to be spelt variously, in both German and English, sometimes as Gingko and sometimes as Ginkgo. Printed copies of Goethe’s…… Continue reading Ginkgo Biloba

Song of the Fates

This was my entry for the Stephen Spender prize in 2020. It is of a poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832). The entry includes my commentary on the translation. Translation The human raceShall fear the Gods.Their immortal hands holdThe reigns of powerAnd they can use their powerTo feed their whims.Their proteges, though on a…… Continue reading Song of the Fates

The world in 1529

A nearly monosyllabic (in Italian) statement about the state of the world in 1529. Language Log » Filosofia monosillabica (upenn.edu) My attempt at a translation: Those who can, don’t want toThose who want to, can’tThose who know how, don’tThose who do, don’t know howAnd thus the world goes badly Pedants’ corner My translation commits an…… Continue reading The world in 1529

Song of a Wanderer at Night (2)

I entered my translation of this poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) for the 2015 Stephen Spender Prize. The entry includes my commentary on the translation. Translation Over hilltops, In treetops, Hardly a sigh. No birdsong in the forest, Your place of rest Is nigh. German original Wandrers Nachtlied 2 (Ein Gleiches) Über allen Gipfeln…… Continue reading Song of a Wanderer at Night (2)

I am Goya

My translation of this poem by Andrey Voznesensky (1933-2010) was commended by the judges of the Joseph Brodsky/Stephen Spender Prize 2014. archive.stephen-spender.org/2014_brodsky_prize/2014_brodsky_commended_PC.htmlMy submission also included the commentary that follows. Translation I am Goya!a crow — my foe — swooped on the barren field,and gouged craters in the globes of my eyes.I am grief.I givevoice to…… Continue reading I am Goya

While Sipping Scented Tea

I entered my translation of this poem by Heinrich Heine for the 2015 Stephen Spender prize. Like all entries for this prize, it includes my commentary on the translation Translation While sipping scented tea,About love they spoke a great deal.The lords were cognoscenti.The ladies were quite genteel. “Love must be platonic”The crusty noble declares.His lady…… Continue reading While Sipping Scented Tea