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Categories: Scottish, Translation
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (608 pages)
(Pub. Dec 1996)
The first translations I made - from Verlaine, in 1937 - were naive attempts to convey the enthusiasm I felt for the sudden discovery of a foreign poet: Verlaine said something to me in his language which no poet in my own language had ever said before, and I wanted to show, if I could, what this quality was...
So began a wonderful addiction - wonderful for Morgan the writer, discovering new resources in each language he mastered; and wonderful for his readers for whom he has opened so many doors. 'Morgan's abilities as a translator are so generous that there is a danger of taking them for granted as he glides from Hungarian to Italian to Russian,' Robert Crawford said in the Scotsman.
There is something profligate in the range of Morgan's work as a translator. He does the labour of ten writers because his own work nourishes itself from the poetry of other lands and ages. It is part of the necessary mechanism that Morgan, as a Scot, employs to define his place as a European.
Collected Translations includes six decades of work. Readers will find here Morgan's celebrated Mayakovsky done into Scots, his Voznesensky, Pasternak and Vinokurov. There are the Italians and the French - Leopardi, Montale, Guillevic, and Michaux; and there are Heine, Lorca, Cernuda, Brecht, Enzensberger and Braga.... and much more.
Awards won by Edwin Morgan Winner, 2000 Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry
Praise for Edwin Morgan 'distinctly and excitingly nonconformist [...] they stunningly convey the poet's love for Glasgow. The traditional structure is interjected with Scottish language and anecdotes, making it a thought-provoking read.'
'A broad celebration of one of the most lively and creative writers of his time'
Mike Ferguson, Stride Magazine
'For readers new to Morgan, it forms a perfect introduction, showcasing his fearless experimentation... For those who already know Morgan's work, this selection is a welcome romp of rediscovery. It offers a reminder that he masters every form - from sonnets to strict rhyme schemes with free rhythm to the disintegrating word curtains of some of his early concrete poems - and gilds them all with the humour and humanity that infuse his own effervescent voice.... He never shrinks from the darkness but the shimmering beauty of his words somehow makes it more bearable.'
Fiona Rintoul, The Herald
'Thank God, thank whatever all-seeing quick-witted deity you like, we have Edwin Morgan to show us how to live, and keep living..."pleasure" is nowhere strong enough to convey the joyous energy of his work.'
'Edwin Morgan's translation of twenty-five poems into Scots, now reissued after almost half a century, finesses one difficulty by substituting another. Wi Haill Voice gives Mayakovsky a shout from the streets without making him a Dickensian exercised in dialect - Scots provides the necessary sense of estrangement.'
William Logan, The New Criterion
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