Illuminations: A Series on American Poetics
Edited by Jon Thompson
Information and Pricing
978-1-64317-290-3 (paperback; $16.99); 978-1-64317-291-0 (PDF, $9.99) 978-1-64317-292-7 (EPUB, $9.99) © 2022 by Parlor Press. 107 pages with notes, art, and bibliography.
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About This Book
Things Are Completely Simple examines poetry and translation from an accomplished poet-translator’s perspective. The book’s polyphonic structure puts different translators, writers, and theorists in conversation with each other. Things Are Completely Simple adopts a collage approach, combining various reflections on the translation process, critical and theoretical observations about translation, and excerpts from correspondence with poets that Brian Henry has translated. Henry’s arguments are advanced both in individual passages and via juxtaposition. But they also are subsumed by other voices, to avoid presenting a monolithic voice when speaking of translation. The book includes extended considerations of Nathaniel Tarn’s translation of Pablo Neruda’s The Heights of Macchu Picchu, Christian Hawkey’s Ventrakl, and W.S. Merwin’s translations; detailed commentary on Henry’s translations of Tomaž Šalamun, Aleš Debeljak, and Aleš Šteger; and correspondence between Šalamun and Henry about translation. The book is ultimately concerned with what translation makes possible for poetry.
About the Author
Brian Henry is the author of twelve books of poetry, most recently Permanent State (Threadsuns, 2020). A former Fulbright Scholar, he co-edited the international magazine Verse from 1995 to 2018 and established the Tomaž Šalamun Prize in 2015. He has translated Tomaž Šalamun’s Woods and Chalices (Harcourt, 2008), Aleš Debeljak’s Smugglers (BOA, 2015), and several books by Aleš Šteger. His translation of Šteger’s The Book of Things (BOA Editions, 2010) won the Best Translated Book Award and the Best Literary Translation into English Award. His translations have appeared in numerous places, including The New Yorker, New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, and The New Republic. His poetry and translations have received numerous honors, including two NEA fellowships, a Howard Foundation grant, the Cecil B. Hemley Memorial Award, the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, the George Bogin Memorial Award, and a Slovenian Academy of Arts and Sciences grant. He lives in Richmond, Virginia.
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