poetry translation

What The Darkness Proposes: Poems (Johns Hopkins: Poetry and Fiction)


"Martin is a moralist in the best sense of the word, a poet concerned with defining human values in a changing society, making his points with wit as well as compassion. He is not afraid of using ideas in verse and brings his intelligence as well as imagination to bear on each poem."--Dana Gioia In this new collection by poet and translator Charles Martin, a darkly comic vision engages an unpredictable variety of subjects in poems of astute technical assurance.

cover of What The Darkness Proposes: Poems (Johns Hopkins: Poetry and Fiction)author: Professor Charles Martin
ASIN or ISBN-10: 0801854873
binding: Hardcover
list price: $16.95 USD
amazon price: $16.95


Metamorphoses: A New Translation


"A version that has been long awaited, and likely to become the new standard."—Michael Dirda, Washington Post

cover of Metamorphoses: A New Translationauthor: Ovid
ASIN or ISBN-10: 039332642X
binding: Paperback
list price: $17.95 USD
amazon price: $13.48 USD


Signs & Wonders (Johns Hopkins: Poetry and Fiction)


Signs is a noun (as in DO NOT DISTURB); Wonders (as in "with furrowed brows"), a verb. The couplet that leads into Charles Martin's fifth collection of richly inventive poems suggests that the world is to be read into and wondered over. The signs in this new work from the prize-winning American poet of formal brilliance and darkly comic sensibility are as stark as the one on a cage at the zoo that says ENDANGERED SPECIES, as surprising as those that announce the return of irony, and as enigmatic as a single word carved on a tombstone.

cover of Signs & Wonders (Johns Hopkins: Poetry and Fiction)author: Charles Martin
ASIN or ISBN-10: 0801899745
binding: Hardcover
list price: $32.00 USD
amazon price: $24.51 USD


Charles Martin

Charles Martin’s most recent book of poems is Signs & Wonders, published in 2011 by Johns Hopkins University Press. His verse translation of the Metamorphoses of Ovid (2004) received the Harold Morton Landon Award from the Academy of American Poets. In 2005, he received an Award for Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He served as Poet in Residence at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York from 2005 to 2009.



Dovid Zisman

Dovid Zisman (1914 – 1960), a Holocaust survivor, was a poet, playwright and performer in Poland. Known for his poetry in the Lodz ghetto, he was sent to a work camp in the German factory Hasag-Pelcery in Czestochowa in 1943 and later sent to the concentration camp Buchenwald. He wrote and performed his writing during his imprisonment and torture in labor and concentration camps. Following liberation, he married Helen Zisman and continued to write poetry and prose.


Laine Zisman Newman

Laine Zisman Newman, Dovid’s youngest granddaughter, is a PhD student in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto. Her practical and academic work focuses on creating and promoting equitable theatre practices. Her creative and scholarly work has been published in Canadian Theatre Review; The Rusty Toque; Journal of Dance, Movement and Spiritualties (forthcoming, 2014); and Studies in Documentary Film.



Shifra Zisman

Shifra Zisman, Dovid Zisman’s youngest daughter, is a Canadian actress and teacher who performed throughout Canada’s east coast in the 1970s as part of the Newfoundland Travelling Theatre Company. As a drama and music consultant, she currently works in Early Childhood Education, and instructs college courses in Toronto, Ontario.



Exotic Perfume

english translation

Exotic Perfume

original French poem

Parfum Exotique

Quand, les deux yeux fermés, en un soir chaud d’automne,
Je respire l’odeur de ton sein chaleureux,
Je vois se dérouler des rivages heureux
Qu’éblouissent les feux d’un soleil monotone;

Un île paresseuse où la nature donne
Des arbres singuliers et des fruits savoureux;
Des hommes dont le corps est mince et vigoureux,
Et des femmes dont l’œil par sa franchise étonne.

Guidé par ton odeur vers de charmants climats,
Je vois un port rempli de voiles et de mâts
Encore tout fatigués par la vague marine,

Pendant que le parfum de verts tamariniers,
Qui circule dans l’air et m’enfle la narine,
Se mêle dans mon âme au chant des mariniers.



english translation


original Spanish poem

¿Qué tengo yo que mi amistad procuras?
¿Qué interés se te sigue, Jesús mío, 
que a mi puerta, cubierto de rocío, 
pasas las noches del invierno oscuras?

 O, cuánto fueron mis entrañas duras, 
pues no te abrí, qué extraño desvarío, 
si de mi ingratitud el hielo frío 
secó las llagas de tus plantas puras. 

Cuántas veces el ángel me decía: 
"Alma, asómate ahora a la ventana, 
verás con cuánto amor llamar porfía". 

Y cuántas, hermosura soberana, 
"Mañana le abriremos", respondía, 
para lo mismo responder mañana.


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