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In Defence of Allusion

Robert Pinsky, 22 May 2003

... The world is allusive. The mantis alludes to a twig To deflect the starling, the starling is a little stare Alluded to by Shakespeare: Jacques-Pierre, His name alluding not to spears or beers Or shaking, though the mantis trembles a little, Helpless refugee. Or I imagine she does, Feeding that fantasy to my heart, an organ Alluded to by the expression ‘courage’ Like ‘Shakespeare’ from the French, M ...

Confounding the Apes

P.N. Furbank, 22 August 1996

The Divine Comedy 
by Dante Alighieri, translated by Allen Mandelbaum.
Everyman, 798 pp., £14.99, May 1995, 1 85715 183 6
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The Inferno of Dante. A New Verse Translation 
by Robert Pinsky, illustrated by Michael Mazur.
Dent, 427 pp., £20, February 1996, 9780460877640
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Dante’s Hell 
translated by Steve Ellis.
Chatto, 208 pp., £15.99, March 1994, 0 7011 6127 2
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... aside the genre known as ‘Imitation’, in which poets like Samuel Johnson, Ezra Pound and Robert Lowell have done such marvellous things. A verse translation may aim to be an independent modern work in its own right. Or, I ought rather to say, this is what some famous and admired translations have in fact been. If you took Pope seriously as to the ...

On the Turn

Clive Wilmer, 22 June 2000

Collected Shorter Poems: 1966-96 
by John Peck.
Carcanet, 424 pp., £14.95, April 1999, 1 85754 161 8
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... some part of their careers is impressive. It includes J.V. Cunningham, Thom Gunn, Donald Davie and Robert Pinsky, all of whom have paid tribute to his teaching. Many of them went further in the direction of Modernism than Winters would have liked. Davie, for example, spent much of his life championing Pound, yet nearly all his books include approving ...

A Bit Like Gulliver

Stephanie Burt: Seamus Heaney’s Seamus Heaney, 11 June 2009

Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney 
by Dennis O’Driscoll.
Faber, 524 pp., £22.50, November 2008, 978 0 571 24252 8
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The Cambridge Companion to Seamus Heaney 
edited by Bernard O’Donoghue.
Cambridge, 239 pp., £45, December 2008, 978 0 521 54755 0
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... at the beginning.’ Daily life there ‘added up to one long steady protest’, with poets – Robert Duncan, Robert Bly, Gary Snyder – joining in: the engagé styles that repelled other American writers showed Heaney ‘what it meant to be American. There was a trust that things could be changed.’ America meant ...

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