Into English: Poems, Translations, Commentaries (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Literary translation is a subject that has always fascinated me, and I was so excited to see a book that approaches the topic in such a unique way. Moving more or less chronologically, the book offers up poems in their original language, each accompanied by three different translations and an analytical essay. Not only does it take the reader on a journey around the world—to Japan, Spain, Syria, and beyond—it also offers a unique demonstration of how translation is a fluid art. Two translations of the same poem can look completely different depending on each translator’s style and interpretation, and even political and social circumstances. This book is an essential gift for anyone who loves reading, writing, or discussing poetry. 
— From Margaret's Picks


A unique anthology that illuminates the history and the art of translating poetry into English

Into English allows readers an extraordinary opportunity to experience the process and artistry of translating poetry. Editors Martha Collins and Kevin Prufer invited twenty-five contributors, all of them translators and most of them also poets, to select one poem in another language and three English translations of it, and then to provide an essay about the challenges and rewards of translating it. This anthology offers the original poem and the translations side by side, so readers can compare the translations for themselves.

The original poems are from across time and around the world. The poets include Sappho, San Juan de la Cruz, Basho, Rilke, Akhmatova, García Lorca, Szymborska, Amichai, and Adonis. The languages represented are many, from Latin to Chinese, Spanish, French, German, Russian, Hebrew, Arabic, and Haitian Creole. More than seventy translators are included, among them Robert Bly, Anne Carson, Ruth Fainlight, David Hinton, Rosemary Lloyd, Khaled Mattawa, and W. S. Merwin. Into English becomes a chorus in celebration of international poetry and translation—what George Kalogeris, quoting Virgil, describes as “song replying to song replying to song.”

Into English plunges the reader into a translation seminar: the joyous, argumentative, fetishistic, obsessive, and unending struggle to give poems new life in English. This generous book offers a plenitude: plural poems, plural languages, plural eras, plural translators. And summons us to add to the bounty.”—Rosanna Warren

Into English is the great book so many of us have waited for: an anthology that actually teaches one about craft. For what is the discussion of literary translation if not a patient, detail-oriented, step-by-step education for a poet on the masteries of word choice, precision, tone? To say that I love this very special collection is an understatement.”—Ilya Kaminsky

Contributors include Kareem James Abu-Zeid, Willis Barnstone, Chana Bloch, Karen Emmerich, Danielle Legros Georges, Johannes Göransson, Joanna Trzeciak Huss, George Kalogeris, J. Kates, Alexis Levitin, Bonnie McDougall, Jennifer Moxley, Carl Phillips, Hiroaki Sato, Cindy Schuster, Rebecca Seiferle, Adam Sorkin, Susan Stewart, Cole Swensen, Arthur Sze, Stephen Tapscott, Alisa Valles, Sidney Wade, Ellen Doré Watson, and David Young.

About the Author

Martha Collins is the author of four previous poetry collections, including Some Things Words Can Do, and co-translator of two volumes of poetry from the Vietnamese. She teaches at Oberlin College and lives in Oberlin, Ohio, and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Praise For…

“An endlessly provocative and invaluable anthology.”—BBC Culture

Into English is a book to be meditated on, a book that exposes the vast inner chasms of poetry, a book that demonstrates that a great poem is something one can live in.”The Paris Review, Staff Picks

“The publication of Into English will soon be considered a watershed moment in the study of literary translation.”World Literature Today

Into English is an impressive and ambitious project. . . . It is a genuine pleasure to read this book from its oblong cover to cover.”Words Without Borders

Product Details
ISBN: 9781555977924
ISBN-10: 1555977928
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Publication Date: November 7th, 2017
Pages: 256
Language: English