Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Sappho to Valéry: Poems in Translation Paperback – July 1, 1990
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top Customer Reviews
I. The introductory essay
The book's introductory essay on translation is a refreshing read when one compares it to similar essays by such poetry-translators as Walter Arndt, Elizabeth Gray, W.S. Merwin or Mark Musa. Though he spends a little time dallying on the familiar tension in translation between what is being said and how it is being said, Nims does not make the fashionable (yet ultimately misleading) assertion that he is trying to balance the how and the what. Moreover, he actually takes the most unpopular position, stating that" poetry is less a matter of what is said than of how it is said."
This sentiment, though it has become an art-as-form cliché among authors of original poetry, is rarely if ever brought to bear on the issue of translating poetry.
Too often, verse-translators (whether they are poets, poetasters, or scholarly poet-impersonators) seem to think of translation as a brain-teaser. "I've got what the poem literally says" the translator seems to think, "now let's see how I can make this sound like a poem again without changing it too much." It baffles me how few poets realize that this is completely backwards from the way poetry normally comes into being. When writing your own poetry, you often know how you're going to say something before you even know what it is you're saying.Read more ›