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Catherine Winkworth: the poetry of translation

Translating hymns is no small feat. This is what I’ve concluded after making a first attempt at translating German poetry. Besides conveying the sense of the text, you have to put into metrical form, ideally preserving the meter and rhyme of the original, and do it in a way that sounds good. So I’ve really … Continue reading Catherine Winkworth: the poetry of translation

Sentences

Normally I read for the sake of the overall narrative or argument, but now and then I have to stop to enjoy and admire a particular passage. Certain sentences are so evocative they’ve stayed in my head for years. A friend recently sent me an essay called “The Problem of Reading” by photographer and writer … Continue reading Sentences

Published

A treasury for the English-speaking world: the gift of John Mason Neale

The church I attend sings a lot of hymns translated by John Mason Neale (1818-1866). That probably says something about the type of hymns we tend to sing, but it also says a lot about how prolific he was as a translator, and how much the English-speaking church owes him. The current Anglican hymnal, Common … Continue reading A treasury for the English-speaking world: the gift of John Mason Neale

Farewell TWB

As many book-lovers know by now, the Toronto Women’s Bookstore will close at the end of this month, after 39 years in business. It’s a familiar story by now: competition from e-books, online shopping, and the big stores that can offer deep discounts. Another entry in the long list of independent bookstores that have closed. … Continue reading Farewell TWB

Jay Macpherson

Another Canadian poet has died recently: Jay Macpherson passed away on March 24. She was, according to Quill and Quire, one of “Canada’s finest— and arguably most underappreciated— poets.” Reading an assessment like that always makes me want to find out more. I knew of Jay Macpherson, very peripherally (she contributed some hymn translations for the … Continue reading Jay Macpherson

Discoveries: Colleen Thibaudeau

Colleen Thibaudeau’s obituary in the Feb. 9 Globe and Mail was intriguing in a couple of ways. For one thing, I had never heard her name before. This in itself is nothing new; even in the relatively small world of Canadian poetry I do encounter well-established poets I’ve never heard of. Having belatedly discovered Thibaudeau, … Continue reading Discoveries: Colleen Thibaudeau