Literature, Poetry

The Persian Version – Robert Graves 


Poetry, Quotes

From “Recalling War” by Robert Graves 

Literature, Poetry

Ariel – Sylvia Plath

Wading through obstruse lines of words, I went in search of Sylvia Plath’s poetry. I went in search of Sylvia Plath’s poetry, only to discover how incomprehensible a number of her poems are. True, some phrases, even a complete stanza here and there, had me quietly appreciating these creations; had me even thinking up variations to them. But really, if I need to go to to understand what she was saying, then I might as well have attended a lecture on string theory. Should I conclude therefore that I’m not deserving of the works of  “… one of the most original and gifted poets of the twentieth century …”?



Literature, Poetry, Uncategorized

Contemporary Galician Poets – A Poetry Review Supplement


Translating a literary work is not a precise science, less so when the translator is working on a collection of poems, and even less so again if it involves a non-mainstream language. Jonathan Dunne might have done an excellent job (who am I to judge?) but the poems themselves were often-times too abstract for my liking. However, there were still a few within the pages of this slim volume which I found deserving enough to be bookmarked. Here is one of them.

Dialogue With The Eastern Trees


I also spoke to the eastern trees,

perfumed in a fervent breeze,

scattering down in secret

gardens: I shan’t see you until, far away,

after many years, the nostalgia

of having been abundant for someone

who under you greedily held

onto me, but putting limits

on the night’s caresses, gives me back

the caterpillars crossing tracks,

the cheeks stolen from a pool

crammed full of fish, sinuous

colours which even then referred me

to a more ancient, dazzling time

I had to forget: I shan’t see you

tremble until the immature days

of the agony of mists, ardent

friends who may still breathe

seeing the sea defiled by the opaque

eyes of those who are adrift.

They haven’t stopped replying.


Xavier Rodríguez Baixeras Tarragona, 1945

Click here for a complete PDF of: Contemporary Galician Poets



Literature, Poetry, Uncategorized

Out of Danger – James Fenton

A slim volume which can easily be read in a day but which, for no particular reason, took me three. James Fenton’s “Out of Danger” has, as with most poetry collections, a few poems which are in the read, reread, and will read again category, such as “Jerusalem”, “Hinterhof” and “Tiananmen”. Others, however, just left me wondering what he was going on about. If I were to shovel beneath the superficial layer of (to me) meaningless lines, I’d possibly discover a rich vein of meaningful thoughts; an effort I’m not ready to expend because there are more interesting things waiting to be read on the bookshelves. Meanwhile, enjoy the poet himself with a reading of Jerusalem.


“When you see someone with a cane / That person’s probably in pain.”

These lines are clearly verse, and the proposition they assert is true. But they are not in the least poetry, for they are totally literal: there is nothing of fiction in them. Even the one possible trace of the nonliteral that might lurk therein – that pain and cane appropriately rhyme because feeling the first might lead one to use the second – is totally glossed into triviality by the simple literal truth of the statement.

Rhyme’s Reason – John Hollander

Cane and pain