Reading: A Dream by Boris Pasternak
Boris Pasternak (1890-1960) was a hero of Russian literature, and not just for the famous Doctor Zhivago. He translated Goethe, Schiller and Shakespear and published influential books of poetry, including his breakthrough 'My sister, Life'. The English Wikipedia page on Pasternak is has lots of original poem, first written in 1913: СОН Мне снилась осень ...
Reading: Beautiful Youth by Gottfried Benn
German poet Gottfried Benn (1886-1956) supported Hitler when he came to power, but changed his mind after the 'night of the long knives'. Still, he was naive enough to join the Wehrmacht, where some officers respected his disaproval of the regime. I don't care too much about the details, but it wasn't pretty. The nazis, ...
Reading: Autopsychography by Fernando Pessoa
I, or at least several of my heteronyms, am a 'fan' of Pessoa (1888 - 1935) and noticed some similarities to Nietzsche (their fathers died when they were five and they both developed cherished alter egos). I read a famous poem that I have encountered before, while living in Lisbon. Autopsychography is a concise description ...
Marina, mine are not in a bookstore. I keep them in a place where not even the moths can find them where silent nods adorn their every line, Maybe they know that their time will never come. Maybe they wait anyhow, and some will ripen in the dark like wine.
do trees hear music when wind moves along their crown and leaves a trembling
...the aeons that it takes our minds to realize that our thinking is just matter lighting itself but there is no one looking.
Reading: Souvenir of the ancient world by Carlos Drummond de Andrade
Today I read a well-known poem by the famous Brazilian poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade (1902-1987). The original is called
Reading: Do not go gentle… by Dylan Thomas
Today a poem that people like myself can't hear anymore, so often has it been repeated and analysed. Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) wrote this for his ailing father. I found a formal analysis online, that is devoid of passion and reminded me why I am doing this. Poetry gets so boring if you must interfere with ...
Reading: The silence of love by Han Yong-Un
Korean poet Han Yong-Un (pen name Manhae; 1879-1944) was a Buddhist monk who resisted against the Japanese occupation of Korea. He wrote about nationalism and love. I choose love, of course, and this famous 'national' poem. There is a creative English translation by allpoetry: The silence of love Love is gone, gone is my love. ...
Reading: The pleasures of the door by Francis Ponge
Francis Ponge (1899-1988) was known as the poet of things. For a future anthology, that drifts further and further away in my imagination the more poetry I am exposed to, I read a thing about doors in an English translation by Raymond Federman: The Pleasures of the Door Kings do not touch doors. They do ...
Reading: Eating Poetry by Mark Strand
This poem by prominent American poet Mark Strand (1934-2014) was just delicious in its simplicity. I quote from the website of
Reading: Burning of books by Bertolt Brecht
Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956)! When I was living in Berlin I intuitively liked the other of the Dreigroschenoper and Mutter Courage, even though I never sat through a live performance of his great plays for lack of money. He would understand. In his poetry, Brecht was a master of political verse, if I may lecture you ...
sparrows on the horizon like musical notes on a bar in front of them, on the G I plant the violin key that old shading tree the world listens not to the songbirds she listens to me.
Reading: Past One O’Clock by Vladimir Mayakovsky
Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930) was one of the important futurist Sovjet poets. He was a versatile writer, with work ranging from stage plays, poetry, travel books, propaganda... He committed suicide in 1930. I heard his name, but when I saw his photograph I wanted to read his poetry, too. This short poem was written in 1930 ...
Reading: Body, Remember by Constantine Cavafy
Cavafy (1863-1933) was of course one of the most important Greek modern poets. I read this short poem in an English translation by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard Body, Remember Body, remember not only how much you were loved, not only the beds you lay on, but also those desires that glowed openly in eyes ...
Reading: The little mute boy by Lorca
I am going to call Federico García Lorca (1898-1936) one of my favorite poets. Perhaps because I like surrealism when it is done well, or because I am as old today than he ever became, which gives some profundity to my admiration of his mighty words. I enjoy the power of longer poems like Gacela of ...
Reading: The Stranger by Gabriela Mistral
Gabriela Spanish it ends like this: "con sólo su destino por almohada, / de una muerte callada y extranjera". So she dies of a death 'extranjera' (I would translate 'foreign'). We never die completely astranged, the idea of our 'destino' will keep us company. This poem was written for Francis de
Reading: I never sought the glory by Antonio Machado
The Spanish poet Antonio Machado (1875-1939) is among the most important of the twentieth century. I read a short poem entitled 'I never sought the glory' in a translation by Katie King: I Never Sought the Glory I never sought the glory nor to leave in memory of men my song; I love subtle worlds, ...
Reading: Yet to die. Unalone still by Osip Mandelstam
Here is a pretty translation I found of a poem by Osip
Reading: In the Greenhouse by Eugenio Montale
Eugenio Montale (1896-1981) is considered the
Reading: The Just by Jorge Luis Borges
Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) must be anthologized or else... I have mixed feelings about the co-founder of postmodernist literature, who was praised, canonized and catapulted into the realm of immortality. I find his aleph a funny story and his experimental prose (eg 'Borges and I') were innovative at the time, but there is not much of the ...
Reading: It’s this way by Nazim Hikmet
Of the first modern Turkish poet Nâzim Hikmet (1902-1963) I enjoy the longer pieces '