The Corneliu M Popescu Prize for European Poetry Translation 2005 has been won by The Bridge, a book of poems by Marin Sorescu, everybody's favourite Romanian poet (well, mine anyway), translated by Adam J Sorkin and Lidia Vianu. Sorescu died at the end of 1996. Here are a couple of his last poems.
I've only read one poem by this poet, but I like it. From what I've been able to find in a quick i-trawl, Robert Hershon is the author of eleven books of poetry, of which The German Lunatic is the most recent. He has received two creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and is co-editor of Hanging Loose Press.I found the poem in an anthology called Poetry 180, edited by Billy Collins.It captures well the ambivalence of watching your kids achieve independence.
Sentimental Moment Or Why Did The Baguette Cross The Road?
Don't fill up on bread I say absent-mindedly The servings here are huge
My son, whose hair may be receding a bit, says Did you really just say that to me?
What he doesn't know is that when we're walking together, when we get to the curb I sometimes start to reach for his hand
Tomorrow's New York Times Book Review, available online now (subscription required, I think), has an article by Leon Wieseltier, who has been through Yehuda Amichai's papers (see sidebar), deposited at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University.
Going through the boxes with Amichai's widow Chana, says Wieseltier,
"We found a rich mess of notes and jottings, a treasury of first thoughts and first words that brought the uninhibited mind of a great poet fiercely to life."
Among the fragments:
• Every nation puts at the head of its government people who are ugly, on the inside or the outside or both, like a scary Gorgon's head, so that every nation may dwell in peace. • Here death is not so deep. You can stand in it. • It is always dark inside the heart because it is inside the body. • I come to you in love without shame, the way one medical expert is not ashamed to be healed by another medical expert.
Even if he
Was an atheist.
We followed the
Coffin in. The bearers
Placed it down. We sat
Silently till his younger son
Nodded to the undertaker who
Went up to the podium, pushed a
Button and a burgundy-red curtain
Closed softly-softly around the coffin.
In my head.
We sat quietly
Again till again
His son nodded to
The undertaker, who
Rose, led us out, shook
Our hands. "That was the
Most minimalist event I've
Been to," said the second son.
He'd offered his
Body to research
But the hospital didn't
Want it. Back at the house,
We toasted the both of them:
She whom the hospital wanted
And he, whom they didn't. I should
Have had a whisky in his honour but
I stuck to wine. I should have lit a menthol
Cigarette in his honour, but I gave up smoking
In 1983. Still, we drank. It was the best we could do.