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Robert Bly has changed global literature forever by translating and bringing world literature to U.S. readers for 50 years. He has opened the doors of experience, insight, and language, lifting them toward a universal understanding of what poetry means in the lives of people throughout the world. This massive collection is both a tribute to his accomplishments as a translator and a testament to how much we owe him.
The rich table of contents mirrors a lifetime of work in translation: Pablo Neruda, Rolf Jacobsen, Rainer Maria Rilke, César Vallejo, Ghalib, Francis Ponge, and 16 other major poets. Each writer is represented by a large selection of poetry and a short, introductory essay written by Bly, which makes this anthology even more of a treasure because Bly’s prose on the process of translation is invaluable in poetry’s global link to mass audiences.
His brief introduction to the book reminds us that he has never worked alone. He pays tribute to James Wright and Hardie St. Martin, two colleagues who introduced him to Georg Trakl and several Spanish poets in the fifties. This magical book contains great poetry in English translation, but its value lies in its sense of exploration and community and its timeless tone that can magnetize poetry from decades ago and thrust it into an eternal trajectory.
(Reprinted from The Bloomsbury Review, September/October 2004)