“any man’s death…”

“…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”

John Donne, Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, “Meditation XVII”

“An artist in her own right”

“I first read Chekhov in Russian, as a student, both short stories and the plays, but the effort to focus so hard on the original Russian, and my lack of experience in life, had left me, as a student, with a somewhat blurred vision of Chekhov himself. I rediscovered him much later, with the ease (and laziness) of reading in my own language, this time through translation. And it was a great gift: at last, through her work*, I could see clearly who Chekhov is as a writer, and why he is incomparable. It’s not really something you can explain; you read the translation, and you know.”

–Alison Anderson

*The speaker refers to translations created by Constance Garnett.

The role of the literary translator in the age of “Ferrante Fever.”

“About suffering they were never wrong”

David Lehman’s essay on W.H. Auden’s ekphrastic poem.

“I teach poetry in the graduate writing program of the New School in New York,” says David Lehman, “A favorite prompt of mine is to read “Musée des Beaux Arts” and other poems about paintings. Then I suggest that the students visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art and write about Brueghel’s sublime depiction of summer, “The Harvesters.” Try it—not in competition with Auden (you can’t win), but with Auden’s marvelous poem as your model.”

My two cents:

Don’t be intimidated by “you can’t win.” Try itnot in competition with anybody, except perhaps yourself. Go ahead, and write your own marvelous poem.

 

The essay was featured in The Wall Street Journal, Review, Sat/Sun, May 14-15, 2016.