The werewolf or who-wolf

I’ve discovered an interesting translation of the well-known poem Der Werwolf (‘The Werewolf’), by the German poet Christian Morgenstern (1871-1914). What led me to this translation was a blogpost on Language Hat about ontogeny. Someone commenting on that post mentioned a translation of this poem. The translation is by Jerome Lettvin (1920– 2011). I hadn’t…… Continue reading The werewolf or who-wolf

Google Translate takes on Goethe

I recently posted my translation of Goethe’s poem Kennst du das Land, wo die Zitronen blühn? with a commentary on my translation, and the German original Do you know that land where lemons grow? – Language Miscellany In a comment on that post, Paul Pacter supplied a translation he’d obtained from Google Translate. Paul commented…… Continue reading Google Translate takes on Goethe

Do you know that land where lemons grow?

I entered my translation of this poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe for the 2023 Stephen Spender prize. Like all entries for this prize, it includes my commentary on the translation.  For information about the prize, please see Stephen Spender Prize (stephen-spender.org) Do you know that land where lemons grow,Where through dark leaves golden oranges…… Continue reading Do you know that land where lemons grow?

Translating Lermontov’s translation of Goethe

I entered my translation of this poem by the Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov (1814-1841) for the 2022 Stephen Spender prize. Like all entries for this prize, it includes my commentary on the translation. From Goethe The hilltops sleepIn the dark of nightAnd fresh mist lies deepIn the valleys so quiet. From the leaves no rustle,From…… Continue reading Translating Lermontov’s translation of Goethe

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