143. (Marina Tsvetaeva)

And, in part, 143. (Elaine Feinstein), since it is Feinstein’s translations (written with the assistance of Angela Livingstone) from the Russian on which I will be relying. Although Livingstone tells us that Tsvetaeva’s voice is “particularly difficult to capture,” Tsvetaeva took a view of poetry that might empower a translator, though it also places a burden of the highest creative expectations on the act of … Continue reading 143. (Marina Tsvetaeva)

134. (Wallace Stevens)

A friend of mine, the recent election in heart and mind, sent me Wallace Stevens’ poem, “United Dames of America.” The poem’s epigraph is from Jules Renard: “Je tâche, en restant exact, d’être poète,” which translates as “I strive, in keeping exact, to be a poet.” . There are not leaves enough to cover the face It wears. This is the way the orator spoke: … Continue reading 134. (Wallace Stevens)

113. (Ezra Pound)

Pound, whose faith in poetry as a force to make something happen was constant and remains invigorating, began his career with poems that realize that possibility not through injunctions to act or imperatives to civilize, but through informing his reader’s “fundamental disposition towards the world.” Though he is opposed Pound ideologically, John Dewey’s phrase for appreciating how Pound’s achievement as an inventive craftsman might be … Continue reading 113. (Ezra Pound)

64. (Ezra Pound)

Of Ezra Pound’s poem “The Return,” Donald Davie remarks how “surprising” it is that “a poet who had scored his most brilliant successes with Browningesque poems, dense with the tangible presences of men recorded in history and occupying a very particular time and space, should have wanted to write a poem like this–let alone, that he should have brought it off.” Occurring in “a dimension … Continue reading 64. (Ezra Pound)