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Collected Translations

C.H. Sisson

C. H. Sisson - Collected Translations (Cover)
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Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (384 pages)
(Pub. Nov 1996)
£14.95 £13.45
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  • Writers should go for a subject they can manage
    And give some thought to the sort of strain they can bear.
    We all have limits. If the choice of subject is right,
    The words will come of themselves, in a lucid order
    -- And order is a matter of strength and pleasure.
    A word is pleasant and strong when it comes where it should,
    Which means not coming at all unless it must
    And the sort of affection that knows when it isn't wanted.

    from a version of Horace's Ars Poetica

    'C.H.Sisson is one of the great translators of our time,' Jasper Griffin wrote in The Times Literary Supplement. 'Latin, French, German, Italian: there can have been few writers who have published translations of Virgil, Racine, Heine and Dante, in addition writing their own poetry.'
    In this volume the bulk of Sisson's poetic translations is included. A writer 'worth a place on the short shelf reserved for the finest twentieth-century poets' (The Times), Sisson occupies a unique place in English letters: his clear-eyed political and literary appraisals inspire writers and readers in a variety of disciplines.
    His translations are integral to his own poetry, often providing a bridge into new areas of activity. His Heine, Virgil, Lucretius and Dante are keys to his development, and major translations in their own right. The work included here, drawn from two millennia and several languages, is testimony of his open-eared endeavour over six decades.
    Born in Bristol in 1914, C. H. Sisson was noted as a poet, novelist, essayist and an important translator. He was a great friend of the critic and writer Donald Davie, with whom he corresponded regularly. Sisson was a student at the University of Bristol where he read English and Philosophy. ... read more
    Praise for C.H. Sisson `His poems move in service of the loved landscapes of England and France; they sing (and growl) in love of argument, in love of seeing through, in love of the firm descriptions of moral self-disgust; they move in love of the old lost life by which the new life is condemned.'
    Donald Hall, New York Times Book Review
    'I think he is worth a place on the short shelf reserved for the finest twentieth-century poets, with Eliot and Rilke and MacDiarmid.'
    Robert Nye, the Scotsman
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