The Blog

Dark Translation: Tim Parks on Pesky Poet-Translators

Russell Scott Valentino

Tim Parks, one of TIR’s contributors to its Forum on Literature and Translation, just published this piece at the NYR Blog,, which from the very start stacks the deck against poor poet-translators by suggesting that they rarely know their source material well enough to really free themselves from it. The point might seem paradoxical at first, and he appears to be aware of this, when he notes

Sarah Goldstein's FABLES

Nick Ripatrazone

In 1902, W.B. Yeats—according to his unused preface for Ideas of Good and Evil—told James Joyce that he had based his recent plays “on emotions or stories that I had got out of folklore.”[i]  Yeats also imbued the folk tradition in his Red Hanrahan stories in The Secret Rose, and collected Sligo County oral tales in Celtic Twilight.  Joyce called Yeats’s practice “deteriorating” but borrowed and revised Irish myth himself, first in a short story, “Clay,” and most notably in Finnegans Wake.

Judith Skillman's THE WHITE CYPRESS

Janelle Elyse Kihlstrom

In her thirteenth collection of poems, The White Cypress, Judith Skillman takes up again the tools of naturalistic observation and mythical allusion to examine difficult truths about the interior life of the self and its drives toward intimacy and seclusion, eroticism and entropy, as well as the paradox and complexity inherent in familial relationships. Skillman's tone is occasionally lofty but most often direct, incisive, unflinching. Her unerringly sharp eye for detail earns these heavily imagistic yet philosophical poems their weight.

Mixed Media

Hannah Kimei

I’ve often wondered if it’s possible to approach writing in a similar way to how my fine artist friends approach their craft. As an undergrad, I first started writing stories at about the same time I was hired to work at the bookstore at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. For two years, I spent afternoons shuffling around the store looking at books and trinkets and talking to my co-workers who were mostly all artists themselves. There was Frieda, who made hammerhead sharks out of leather, and Kim, who froze and gutted a dead raccoon to embalm in a jar. Zan made abstract paintings of spaghetti, and Hana returned to her exhibit every day through the length of her show to burn up an object she had papier-mâchéd. I listened to all these projects, amused and amazed, and thought, Why can’t I do something like that?


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