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Metamorphoses: Poetry and Translation
ISBN: 978 1 857545 86 9
Imprint: Lives and Letters
Published: June 2003
218 x 137 x 16 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Charles Tomlinson declares that this book, emerging from the practice, the art and magic of translation, concerns itself with 'the way certain fables of metamorphosis have captured the poetic imagination and how translation - literary metamorphosis - extends this process'.
He takes the syntax and diction of the prose of John Ruskin, so important to the evolution of Proust's prose style, as offering an example of the way visual experience, in Ruskin's art criticism, can suggest certain methods of approach to the poet, a technique whereby what is seen directly feeds what is said and how the saying takes shape. Metamorphoses demonstrates, with a wealth of examples and close readings, how poetry itself is a form of metamorphosis, raw materials being transformed and realised though literary expression and technique.
Tomlinson's own poetic achievement - evinced in more than twenty books of poems, and also in his groundbreaking translations from Spanish, Russian, French and other languages - informs much that these essays describe. Here readers will find a major poet reflecting on the core and timeless elements of the poetic craft.
Awards won by Charles Tomlinson Winner, 2003 New Criterion Poetry Prize (Skywriting)
Praise for Charles Tomlinson 'Tomlinson's work and his new volume achieve balance, synthesis and wonderful expression. Add to this that he is also very funny, and I trust you have abandoned any reason not to buy the book. Let's be proud of him.'
David Morley, the Guardian 'Tomlinson's work and his new volume achieve balance, synthesis and wonderful expression. Add to this that he is also very funny, and I trust you have abandoned any reason not to buy the book. Let's be proud of him.'
David Morley, the Guardian 'Tomlinson has an international reputation as a poet and translator. He is also a painter and brings his artist's eye to his poetry, drawing out exact lines, creating luminous imagery that is still touched by a sense of mystery. Please read him...his collection Seeing is Believing is one of my all-time favourites.'
Sion Hamilton, The Bookseller pick of 2006. 'He has divided his line according to a new measure learned, perhaps, for a new world. It gives a refreshing rustle or seething to the words which bespeak the entrance of a new life'.
William Carlos Williams 'Against the word as spectacle, Tomlinson opposes the concept -- a very English one -- of the world as event...He is fascinated -- with his eyes open: a lucid fascination -- by the universal busyness, the continuous generation and degeneration of things'.
Octavio Paz 'Tomlinson insists, and he has a right to insist, that he is as authentic a voice of modern Britain as Larkin isâ¦ Only in the great poets is content so intimately married to form'.
'Charles Tomlinson's poems...are crystalline, and ring when you touch them.'
Times Literary Supplement 'Tomlinson's distinctive poetry springs from a patience in looking, and a precision in feeling. Along with Hill, Larkin and Hughes, he has produced one of the four most commanding bodies of work since 1945.'
The Tablet 'Tomlinson is a unique voice in contemporary English poetry, and has been a satellite of excellence for the past 50 years.'
David Morley, The Guardian
We thank the Arts Council England for their support and assistance in this interactive Project.
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