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George Elliot Clarke on Translation, Broggiato’s Against the Light, and Liiv’s Snow Drifts, I Sing: Selected Poems


In a recent article for the Maple Tree Literary Supplement, George Elliot Clarke praised Guernica Editions for two books of translated poetry, Against the Light by Tiziano Broggiato and Snow Drifts, I Sing: Selected Poems by Juhan Liiv. Against the Light was translated by Patricia Hanley and Maria Laura Mosco, and Snow Drifts, I Sing was translated by Juri Talvet and H.L. Hix.

Clarke begins by mentioning the long history of translated works from Guernica Editions, and he also emphasizes the importance of translated poetry, “for as poet-translators like Charles Baudelaire and Ezra Pound have proven, the poetry of the host language is improved by exposure to the import verse.” Speaking on Against the Light, Clarke finds Broggiato’s poems to consist of “excellent lines, such as, ‘I beg of you / let me reach beyond my sight.’” Broggiato’s Toronto-based translators, Patricia Hanley and Maria Laura Mosco “stumbled upon Broggiato’s verse by accident, lifting it from a Florence bookstore table ‘laden with contemporary Italian poetry.’…As fate would have it, the Broggiato book they picked, won a prize, and Hanley and Mosco became the official translators”. Additionally, Juhan Liiv’s Snow Drifts, I Sing is a book of poems that are “only superficially simple. Rather, the Estonian poet’s complexity is supple and resonant”. Clarke continues to say “Liiv is a discovery. His poems are generally short, use a lot of repetition, and ripple with profundity”. Clarke also mentions the statement made by Liiv’s English translators, Juri Talvet and H.L. Hix, who argue that Liiv is “recognized in Estonia as the epitome of its indigenous poetic genius”.

George Elliot Clarke was born in Windsor, Nova Scotia. He has published numerous groundbreaking verse and dramatic poetry collections and anthologies, most recently Illicit Sonnets. He has won the Governor General Literary Award, the Portia White Prize, and is the E.J. Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto.

To read the whole review, visit the Maple Tree Literary Supplement website at:

To read more about Against the Light, visit the Guernica Editions website at:

To read more about Snow Drifts, I Sing: Selected Poems, visit the Guernica Editions website at:

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