Preface
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xix  preface Paula Deitz While the name of the Hudson Review denotes the magazine’s local origins in a makeshift office in lower Manhattan a block from the Hudson River, like the city in which it was founded in 1948, its outlook from the beginning has been international. Frederick Morgan, a founding editor who had majored in romance languages and literatures at Princeton University, reminisced in a 1997 interview about a conversation he had early on with Ezra Pound in which “he opened my eyes . . . to the possibilities of publishing translations from foreign literatures.” Though Pound, he continues, “was very strongly focused on the Mediterranean tradition . . . that particular strength of his happened to mean a lot to me at that moment.”1 Along with letters from London and Paris and literary criticism about writers abroad from the classical to modernist periods highlighted in early issues, the first translation of poetry appeared in the Volume 1, Winter 1949 issue: three French poems translated by W. S. Merwin, at that time a graduate student at Princeton University. Since then, translation has remained for the Review a cherished literary and cultural tradition, providing our global readership with an engaging worldview. Since 2000 alone, the journal has published an entire issue featuring works translated from eight different 1. Michael Peich, “The Hudson Review’s Early Years: An Interview with Frederick Morgan ,” Hudson Review 51, no. 2 (1998). xx Preface languages as well as special issues devoted to French- and Spanish-language literature. Like many editorial decisions, this anthology originated in a simple perception that while the poets translated in the Review—fromHomertoRussia’s Dimitri V. Psurtsev—constitute a history of world literature, the translators themselves are among our most distinguished American and British poets and that these poems belong as much to them as to the original authors. In keeping with this spirit, the poems were initially organized by translator, so that the section, say, of W. S. Merwin’s translations would read almost like a small collection of his own poems. In the end, however, for greater clarity of our purpose, the poems are arranged by language, but we urge readers to make use of the index to read one translator’s work, often from several languages, straight through to experience a different and cumulative effect. This selection from a much larger group comprises seventy-seven known and several anonymous poets, who wrote in twenty-five original languages, and sixty-one translators. All of these translations made their first appearance in print in the Hudson Review prior to book publication, as is our policy. A reader may wish to keep this in mind when reading, for example, Richmond Lattimore’s excerpt from Homer’s Odyssey or, more recently, scenes from Corneille’s Le Cid in Richard Wilbur’s translation. Added to the experience of reading the poems as literature is the knowledge of the cultures that produced the original authors, from the imperial court of China to the political upheavals of twentieth-century Europe—knowledge that can be gleaned from the biographical notes. Grateful appreciation is due my colleagues for their invaluable assistance in selecting and preparing this anthology: Mark Jarman, an advisory editor since 2003, also for his masterful introduction; managing editor Ronald Koury; associate editor Zachary Wood; assistant editors Madeleine Fentress and Zoë Slutzky; editorial assistant Scott Bartley; and student editorial interns Christian N. Desrosiers, Ricky D’Ambrose, Rebecca T. Hawkins, and Becky Tseytkin. We are particularly indebted to the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts for supporting issues of the Hudson Review in which many of these translations originally appeared, and to the Florence Gould Foundation and Michael A. Boyd, whose generous Preface xxi  gifts have made this anthology possible. Our special thanks to the authors, translators, and copyright holders of these poems for their gracious cooperation . Finally, to our publisher, Syracuse University Press, and its editors for bringing this book to life for all to read and enjoy, we express our gratitude for understanding our vision since our initial contact. ...