First of all, the July/August issue of Poetry had a glow-in-the-dark cover. How cool was that? Not enough glow-in-the-dark publications, in my opinion. Three favorites from the issue, full of translations:
That is the example that snails offer us: saints who make masterpieces of their lives, works of art of their own perfection. They secrete form. Nothing outside themselves, their necessity, or their needs is their work. Nothing is out of proportion with their physical being. Nothing that is unnecessary or obligatory.
- “Snails” by Francis Ponge, translated from French.
- “The Moonlight” by Noah Buchholz, translated from American Sign Language.
- “Charaxos and Larichos” by Sappho, translated from Greek.
And over in The New Yorker, part of a (successful!) catch-up mission this summer, Rita Dove’s “Found Sonnet: The Wig” finds great narrative life in the ordinary (which of course is life). I also loved Rebecca Hazelton’s “Letter to the Editor,” which will warm your heart too if you’ve read enough reader letters.
I do not think you cannot have meant I assume it’s in error
it comes to my attention it rises from the muck it sways
elephantine in a Gulf Stream breeze you surely meant
other you must have encountered others you are much
mistaken in this and in all other circumstances I assume
it’s in error I cannot think you mean to suggest it comes
from a childhood spent waiting for someone to notice
Meanwhile, at work, poet Aimee Nezhukumatahil visited, and it was great. (One of her poems showed up in the blog in January.) Her cousin turns out to be one of our marketing leads. (Hooray!) I got a copy of Nezhukumatahil’s Lucky Fish at the work reading and couldn’t put it down. A favorite — one of many — from the collection was “At Hundred Islands National Park, I Count Only One Island.” You should pick up her work, seriously. It will light up your day.
Last but not least: My parents gave me Seamus Heaney’s translation of Aeneid Book VI, the one I mentioned the other week, for my birthday. How good? One sitting. That good. Heaney was a magician. I wish he could have done the entire book. The translation is a love letter to Latin-class translation, and every line comes alive in a way you wish your school self had been able to accomplish. The epic is epic. When Aeneas visits the Sibyl to find his way to the underworld is just one moment of many:
Thus from her innermost shine the Sibyl of Cumae
Chanted menacing riddles and made the cave echo
With sayings where truths and enigmas were twined
Inextricably, while Apollo reined in her spasms
And curbed her, or sank the spurs in her ribs.