poetry translation

Giovanni Pascoli

Giovanni Pascoli (1855 – 1912), the son of an estate manager, grew up in an idyllic rural setting that was very soon to change. He lost his parents and other members of his family early on in tragic circumstances. Nevertheless, thanks to some financial help, he was able to continue his studies and gain a degree in classics, teaching first in high schools, later in universities. Eventually, in 1906, he was appointed to the chair of Italian Literature at Bologna University recently vacated by his friend and mentor, Giosuè Carducci.

 

Paul the Deacon

Paul the Deacon (c. 720 – c. 799), during the 780s, was part of the circle of poets and thinkers at the court of Charlemagne, King of the Franks. Apparently descended from a noble Lombard family, Paul later wrote a six-book history of his people and compiled a collection of his homilies at Charlemagne’s request.

 

 

Jeff Sypeck

Jeff Sypeck taught medieval literature at the University of Maryland University College for ten years and wrote the 2006 book Becoming Charlemagne. Born and raised in New Jersey, he now lives in Washington, DC, where he writes and edits as a contractor for a large government agency.

 

 

Hesiod

Hesiod is arguably the first writer we know about as a person in Western Literature. Probably writing in the late 8th century BC, he lived in the town of Askra, in Boeotia, Greece (a place he called “miserable in winter, vile in summer, unpleasant all the year round.”) He was a farmer himself and won a tripod in a poetry contest. He was embroiled in a lawsuit with his wastrel brother Perses over a property inherited from their father, and complained of corrupt judges; Modern Greeks would recognize this iron-age state of affairs today.

 

 

A.E. Stallings

A.E. Stallings is an American poet who has lived in Greece since 1999. Her most recent collection is Olives. Her translation of Hesiod’s Works and Days is forthcoming from Penguin Classics.

 

 

Giacomo Leopardi

Giacomo Leopardi (1798 – 1837), poet, translator, essayist, and philosopher, is considered one of the greatest Italian poets, together with Dante and Petrarch. He grew up in the small town of Recanati, a conservative backwater in Italy’s Marche region. His parents were reactionary nobility. His mother was cold, stingy, and committed to not giving Leopardi any money. Besides having squandered much of the family fortune on gambling, his father had spent considerable sums amassing an enormous library of some 20,000 volumes.

 

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