Posts by: Barbara Berman
At their best, love and translation share some contradictions, including selfishness and generosity. Translation is impossible, or at least not very good, without a passionate desire to own the material and leave one’s mark on it. At the same time, few translators want to “hide the light” of their translations “under a bushel.” The translations they undertake and complete belong to them, are marked by them, and yet they are without much value unless shared....more
Every prison sentence represents compound tragedies involving family members and friends, the affect on the community where the crime was committed, and, of course, the prisoner whose sentence may or may not be appropriate. If the prisoner who is confined is innocent, outrage enters the mix....more
In Washington, D. C. many years ago, Denise Levertov took questions after a reading and was asked if poets were obligated to protest with poetry when their government was acting illegally or immorally. Levertov replied that of course poets should protest, but since good political poetry was difficult to create, and to judge, writing letters and going into the streets were laudable, often imperative actions....more
Maureen McLane has published two daring, original collections of poetry, and a book called Balladeering, Minstrelsy, and the Making of British Romantic Poetry, from Cambridge University Press. Balladeering, with sometimes sluggish, academic prose, is worth effort for anyone wishing greater understanding of traditions that have influenced romantic poetry and the poetry that has come after it : in other words, anyone who cares about literature....more
Barbara Berman is a long time Rumpus reviewer. Here she offers her recommendations for books to give during this holiday season and beyond.
Years ago I decided to do as much holiday shopping as possible at independent book stores and non-profit retail outlets....more
What Is Amazing by Heather Christle is another illustration of my frustration with the word “critic,” why I think “appreciator” is a closer approximation and why I’m still open to one-word suggestions.
Christle was born in 1980 and has two earlier books and a Believer Award to her name, as well as poems in Verse, Columbia Poetry Review, Boston Review, The New Yorker, and publications Rumpus readers may not have heard of and should get to know better....more
The cover of Allan Peterson’s Fragile Acts, in print and as eBook, is as visually compelling as the cover of Rebecca Lindenberg’s Love, An Index, the first poetry selection in McSweeney’s new series. The cloth binding of Fragile Acts is an inviting green, and the artwork is a sexually ambiguous back view of a person from the waist to almost the top of the head....more