Archive for August, 2008

Three Poems by Sandro Penna

To Us, To Us

A crowd snarled “to us” “to us”
And black reigned beneath the sun
But the new urban planning!
The restlessness of the pissoirs!
And evenings the calm worry of cats

Una folla gridava ‘a noi’ ‘a noi’
Ed il nero imperava sotto il sole.
Ma il nuovo Piano Regolatore!
L’irrequietezza degli orinatoi!
E la sera la calma paura dei gatti.

Drowsy Autumn Arrives

Drowsy autumn arrives. Sparkling
Behind shining glass two
Shining eyes

Viene l’autunno sonnolento. Brillano
dietro i lucenti vetri due lucenti

To Sit at an Unknown Table

To sit at an unknown table
To sleep in someone else’s bed
To feel the already empty square
Swell in tender goodbye

Sedere a una tavola ignota.
Dormire in un letto non mio.
Sentire la piazza gia vuota
gonfiarsi in un tenero addio.

Translated by Alexander Booth


From the Editors

It’s the end of August and the end of summer, a slow time in the northern hemisphere and even slower in Italy. After a brief hiatus, American Poets Abroad resumes its semi-regular schedule of publishing. It is semi-regular because we, like you, work for a living. Were we able to dedicate all our time to the necessities of publishing, we would no doubt have a much broader readership. But, as the saying goes, ze ma she’yesh–this is all we’ve got to work with. We would like to thank all the poets who have sent us their work, excuse ourselves for all the poems we still haven’t gotten around to responding to, and encourage others to send their work to us and help us grow. Poets need readers, and readers need poetry. Our submissions guidelnes are here.

Our readers will notice that, slowly but surely, the site is being made more reader-friendly. To replace author pages we have created author categories, found on the right-hand side of the page. An author’s poems should all be accessible by clicking on his or her name on the sidebar. Thus no poems should be lost in the archives.

Welcome back!

The Editors

Spanish Grave

A small pile of stones
off the coast of Skagaströnd
on a thumb of land
that juts proudly
into the North Sea.
A Viking death,
or some Viking slave,
now an unmarked grave.
The sign says simply
spænska dys. Nearby
columnar jointings
of basalt make
long nails
on a black hand
of stone. So geologic
time countermands
cardinal death, natural
monuments displace
old sympathies.
We are fascinated
by the hexagonal shapes
molten rocks take
crystallizing when sea
meets lava. The colonnades
and entablatures
seem to bend in the
northern wind.
But nothing moves,
suspended by the sea,
earth’s parallels
with human catastrophes
at last make
translations unnecessary.

George Moore

Contrasting Views

"Literalism is a feature of boorish translators." Cicero "The clumsiest literal translation is a thousand times more useful than the prettiest paraphrase." Nabokov

The Faerie Queene

"John Ashbery said reading the Faerie Queene was like reading an endless beautiful comic strip." Kenneth Koch

Sigmund Freud

"Everywhere I go, I find a poet has been there before me."


August 2008
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