Showing posts from December, 2022

Introduction to Herman Gorter: Selected Poems, by Lloyd Haft

  Lloyd Haft & M. Kruijff with their respective translations for The Essential Gorter Herman Gorter (1864-1927) is one of the all-time great Dutch poets. Most Netherlanders, even if they seldom or never read poetry, are familiar with Gorter’s often-quoted line  Een nieuwe lente en een nieuw geluid , literally ‘A new springtime and a new sound.’ They may or may not know that this is the opening line of  May  (Mei, 1899), a long story poem with which Gorter instantly became famous when he was only twenty-four. An epic of youth and passion against a background of vibrant nature imagery,  May  is written in traditional rhymed couplets. Thematically as well as in form, at times it shows influence of Keats’  Endymion  or of the drama and diction of Old Norse mythology. In subsequent books, starting with  Verses  (Verzen, 1890), Gorter wrote in a radically new style which combined experimentally intense lyricism with a freewheeling approach to language. Changing the spelling or even the s

Musings of May

  Hear,  past midnight - the cacaphony of quacks where coquettish carps now flirt their backs. The little lambs are prancing! How the pasture's graced: they gambol gaily through that springtime frame of May. - M. Kruijff Lloyd Haft's foreword to Herman Gorter's May  When I was choosing my angle to write this foreword for M. Kruijff's translation of Gorter’s  May , what crossed my mind was the American poet Robert Frost's famous one-liner definition of poetry: ‘Poetry is what gets lost in translation.’ As one who for decades taught Chinese poetry via translations, I can testify to the lamentably widespread truth of it. Yet, I can also affirm that it is but a partial truth. Translations of poetry can themselves be poetry. I was more or less ‘converted to’ Chinese poetry by A. C. Graham’s  Poems of the Late T’ang  (Penguin, 1965). Somehow the evocative elegance of Graham’s phrasing in English, together with his commentaries which assured me that he really did know what

Impressions of Herman Gorter: Selected Poems

  Herman Gorter: Selected Poems Translated by Lloyd Haft.  Finalist of the 2022 Next Generation Indie Book Awards When times were leaf-still, long gone by, born she was, in autumn hush a bloom in bleak lightweepings standing pale light – the clouds cloak her in rains. Pale she stood her light amidst all drear, keeping light eyes, blonde hair spreading near her, tears at many an hour, white of hands – a poor light girl light-famished. Bring upon her color of bloomglow, your blood-red, o new season that is now. From Herman Gorter: Selected Poems. Translated by Lloyd Haft, 2021. Photo: M. Kruijff   It is not true that this is sunlight. This is you. This is not the wind that blues across the water: that is not so gentle: this is you. This is not the earth and not the heavens – so beautiful they’re not. This is you. From Herman Gorter: Selected Poems. Translated by Lloyd Haft, 2021. Photo: M. Kruijff  Deep goes the radiance of night and of light, translating All into feeling – see the way s

Errata to the bilingual first edition of May (obsolete)

If you own a copy of the first edition of  May , you are likely to be one of the world's first English readers of this classic work by Herman Gorter.   May  is a product of The May Project, an initiative born from the urge to share internationally the Dutch masterpiece   Mei : an epic poem which has remained untranslated for 132 years.   May  was translated, reviewed and redacted for you with love and utmost care mostly by volunteers. The bilingual first edition has been published in the highest quality, in The Netherlands and Belgium, in March 2021. Nevertheless, as in any first edition, there is the occasional error that needs fixing. Find below a listing of the main suggested edits for that first edition. In this manner, we hope to provide yourself and our future customers with the best possible reading experience.  The second (revised) edition of  May , currently for sale as the first volume of  The Essential Gorter , has already been edited accordingly, along with other minor

Lees Mei Introductie 2021 - over Gorter en Mei

  Het ding en de mijmering Hoor ’s nachts - de kikkertjeskakofonie Waar karperruggen doen nu hun koketterie. De lammeren stuiteren! luisteren op de wei, Ze buitelen door die warme lentelijst van mei. Wie begint er niet te mijmeren op een mooie dag in mei? Zo ervoer ik die maand in mijn jeugd, in de duinen en polders van Noord-Holland. Ik herinner me de verwondering toen ik voor het eerst kikkervisjes zag in ons geheime poeltje in Bergen aan Zee. Tegenwoordig bloeien de bloemen acht dagen vroeger, vliegen de libellen eerder. Ik zag al eens eind februari een moedereend voor haar bibberende kroost uitzwemmen. Gelukkig zijn de kraaien nog gewoon nu in mei de draadjes uit het klimtouw in onze appelboom aan het stelen voor hun nest. Mei anno 2021 is nog altijd betoverend en zo moet het anderhalve eeuw geleden voor het kind Herman Gorter in de Wormerveerse polder ook al zijn geweest. Hij zou er niet heel veel later een onovertroffen gedicht naar vernoemen. Het is 19 maart 1889 als  Mei   uitk