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Metamorphoses: Poetry and Translation
RRP: GBP 12.95
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Price: GBP 11.65
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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 'Charles Tomlinson has been probably the foremost poet of truly international distinction writing in England between the 1950s and the opening years of the Twenty-first Century.'
Ian Brinton, Tears in the Fence
'It is entirely appropriate that David Morley should have chosen the title Swimming Chenango Lake for this book and the poem of that name, written in September 1967, stands as 'Prologue' to a volume which will at last place Charles Tomlinson's name at the forefront of the poetry of the twentieth century.'
Ian Brinton, The London Magazine
'Tomlinson was a wide-ranging poet. His technical scope includes free form and more traditional structures, and he is a master of both. They cohabit enrichingly in Swimming Chenango Lake... a finely chosen collection for existing enthusiasts and an excellent introduction for newcomers.'
Carol Rumens, The Guardian
'His poetry stuns us by its formal rigour, its punctiliousness, its syntactical mastery, its long, building effects. Unmissable.'
Michael Glover, The Tablet
'Tomlinson is one of the most astute, disciplined, and lucent poets of his generation. His quiet, meditative voice will reverberate on both sides of the Atlantic for a long time to come.'
Edward Hirsch '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 is. Only in the great poets is content so intimately married to form'.
We thank the Arts Council England for their support and assistance in this interactive Project.
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