Never for me
- Corona, Corona by Michael Hofmann
Faber, 55 pp, £12.99, September 1993, ISBN 0 571 16962 7
‘I was not myself. I was just anyone.’ The person who says ‘I’ in Michael Hofmann’s earlier poems is uncertain, diffident, angry; he seems both gnarled and youthful, like some hoary child out of Hardy, although rather better treated:
Vol. 16 No. 1 · 6 January 1994
Michael Wood may be too quick to condemn Michael Hofmann’s transcription of Spanish in his review of Corona, Corona (LRB, 2 December 1993). Hofmann’s substitution of camións for the standard camiones (not just ‘lorries, trucks’ but also ‘buses’) could be an attempt, for example, to imitate regional Mexican pronunciation. Whether deliberate or not, Hofmann’s camións accurately conveys the instability of e in the final syllable. His Mexican poems may be glib, but his Spanish is luckily intact.
Purdue University, Indiana