1. The Psalms of David.

New England Review - - Rediscoveries -

The Psalms re­main, whether in the Latin ver­sion or in the au­tho­rized English trans­la­tion, the most pa­thetic and poignant, as well as the most noble and dig­ni­fied of all poetic literature. The rarest spir­its of our race will al­ways re­turn to them at ev­ery epoch in their lives for con­so­la­tion, for sup­port and for re­pose.

Butcher and Lang’s Prose Trans­la­tion. The Odyssey must con­tinue to ap­peal to ad­ven­tur­ous per­sons more pow­er­fully than any other of the an­cient sto­ries be­cause, blent with the clas­sic qual­ity of its pure Greek style, there can be found in it that mag­i­cal el­e­ment of thrilling ro­mance, which be­longs not to one age, but to all time.

Trans­lated by Pro­fes­sor Gil­bert Mur­ray. Euripi­des, the favourite poet of John Milton and Goethe, is the most mod­ern in feel­ing, the most ro­man­tic in mood of all the Greek po­ets. One is con­scious that in his work, as in the sculp­ture of Prax­ite­les, the calm beauty of the Apol­lo­nian tem­per is touched by the wilder rhythm of the per­ilous mu­sic of Diony­sus.

4. Ho­race. Any se­lec­tion in Latin of the Odes of Ho­race and com­plete prose trans­la­tion pub­lished by Macmil­lan. Flaw­lessly ham­mered out, as if from eter­nal bronze—“ære peren­nius”—the Odes of Ho­race are the con­sum­mate ex­pres­sion of the pride, the re­serve, the tragic play­ful­ness, the epi­curean calm, the ab­so­lute dis­tinc­tion of the Im­pe­rial Ro­man spirit. A few lines taken at ran­dom and learned by heart would act as

John Cow­per Powys

The Shake­spearean at­ti­tude of mind is quite a def­i­nite and ar­tic­u­late one, and one that can be, by slow de­grees, ac­quired, even by per­sons who are not cul­ti­vated or clever. It is an at­ti­tude “com­pounded of many simples,” and, like the melan­choly of Jaques, it wraps us about “in a most hu­mor­ous sad­ness.” But the es­sen­tial se­cret of Shake­speare’s ge­nius is best ap­pre­hended in the felic­ity of cer­tain iso­lated pas­sion­ate speeches, and in the magic of his songs.

Any edi­tion. No epi­curean lover of the sub­tler del­i­ca­cies in poetic rhythm or of the more ex­alted and translu­nar har­monies in the imag­i­na­tive sug­ges­tive­ness of words, can af­ford to leave Milton un­touched. In sheer felic­ity of beauty—the beauty of sug­ges­tive words, each one car­ry­ing “a per­fume in the men­tion,” and to­gether, by their ar­range­ment in re­la­tion to one another, con­vey­ing a thrill of ab­so­lute and fi­nal sat­is­fac­tion—no poem in our lan­guage sur­passes Ly­ci­das, and only the fine great odes of John Keats ap­proach or equal it.

There are pas­sages, too, in Par­adise Lost, Par­adise Re­gained, and Sam­son Ag­o­nistes, which, for calm, flow­ing, and im­mor­tal love­li­ness, are not sur­passed in any po­etry in the world.

Milton’s work wit­nesses to the value in art of what is an­cient and tra­di­tional, but while he will­ingly uses ev­ery tra­di­tion of an­tiq­uity, he stamps all he writes with his own for­mi­da­ble im­age and su­per­scrip­tion.

John Cow­per Powys

Philip F. Gura is the Wil­liam S. New­man Distin­guished Pro­fes­sor of Amer­i­can Literature and Cul­ture at the Univer­sity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His many books in­clude Truth’s Ragged Edge: The Early Amer­i­can Novel (Far­rar, Straus and Giroux, 2014) and Amer­i­can Tran­scen­den­tal­ism: A History (Hill and Wang, 2008), which was a fi­nal­ist for the Na­tional Book Crit­ics Cir­cle Award.

Ela Har­ri­son is a scholar of clas­si­cal lan­guages and lit­er­a­tures, and of lin­guis­tics and philol­ogy, as well as be­ing a trans­la­tor and editor, writer and re­searcher. Her writ­ing has been pub­lished in Cirque Jour­nal and F Mag­a­zine, and her poem “Le­gion” was run­ner-up in the Fair­banks Arts As­so­ci­a­tion’s 2012 po­etry com­pe­ti­tion.

Al­le­gra Hyde’s writ­ing has ap­peared or is forth­com­ing in Mis­souri Re­view, Den­ver Quar­terly, South­west Re­view, Pas­sages North, Chat­ta­hoochee Re­view, North Amer­i­can Re­view, and else­where. She is the prose editor for Hay­den’s Ferry Re­view and cu­rates sim­i­les at www.al­le­grahyde.com.

Bill John­ston’s trans­la­tion of Wiesław Myśli­wski’s novel Stone Upon Stone (Ar­chi­pel­ago Books, 2011) won the PEN Trans­la­tion Prize and the Best Trans­lated Book Award in 2012. His most re­cent trans­la­tions in­clude Mag­dalena Tulli’s In Red (Ar­chi­pel­ago Books, 2011), Wiesław Myśli­wski’s A Trea­tise on Shelling Beans (Ar­chi­pel­ago Books, 2013), and To­masz Róży­cki’s mock-epic poem Twelve Sta­tions (Ze­phyr Press, 2015). He is cur­rently work­ing on a new trans­la­tion of Adam Mick­iewicz’s 1834 Pan Tadeusz, the Pol­ish na­tional epic, a pro­ject for which he re­ceived a Guggen­heim Fel­low­ship. He teaches literary trans­la­tion at In­di­ana Univer­sity.

El­iz­a­beth Kadet­sky is the au­thor of the memoir First There Is a Moun­tain (Lit­tle Brown, 2004), the story col­lec­tion The Poi­son that Pu­ri­fies You (C&R Press, 2014), and the novella On the Is­land at the Cen­ter of the Cen­ter of the World, forth­com­ing from Nou­vella Books. Her fic­tion has been in­cluded in the Pushcart Prize an­thol­ogy and Best New Amer­i­can Voices and re­ceived a no­table ci­ta­tion in Best Amer­i­can Short Sto­ries ; her per­sonal es­says have been pub­lished in the New York Times, An­ti­och Re­view, and else­where. She is as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of cre­ative writ­ing at Penn State, and can be found at www.eliz­a­bethkadet­sky.com.

Joanna Klink’s most re­cent book is Rap­tus (Pen­guin Books, 2010). Her new col­lec­tion, Ex­cerpts from a Se­cret Prophecy, is forth­com­ing from Pen­guin in 2015.

Larkin’s fifth book of po­ems, Blue Hanu­man, was pub­lished by Hang­ing Loose Press in 2014. Her pre­vi­ous work in­cludes My Body: New and Se­lected Po­ems (Hang­ing Loose, 2007), re­cip­i­ent of the Pub­lish­ing Tri­an­gle’s Audre Lorde Award, and Legs Tipped with Small Claws, an Ar­gos Books hand-sewn chap­book (2012). Her hon­ors in­clude the Po­etry So­ci­ety of Amer­ica’s Shel­ley Me­mo­rial Award and the Academy of Amer­i­can Po­ets Fel­low­ship, among oth­ers. A teacher for many years, she is cur­rently Con­kling Writer in Res­i­dence at Smith Col­lege.

Nor­man Mailer (1923–2007) was born in New Jersey, raised in Brook­lyn, New York, and ed­u­cated at Har­vard, where he en­rolled at age six­teen. He spent two years in the Pa­cific Theater dur­ing World War II, and drew on his ex­pe­ri­ences for his first novel, The Naked and the Dead (1948), which in­stantly es­tab­lished the twenty-five-year-old as one of the most in­flu­en­tial writ­ers of his time. His next nov­els were Bar­bary Shore (1951) and The Deer Park (1955), fol­lowed by Ad­ver­tise­ments for My­self (1959), a col­lec­tion of fic­tion, non­fic­tion, and com­men­tary. He won both the Pulitzer Prize and the Na­tional Book

Con­trib­u­tors’ Notes

John­ston. His most re­cent book is Grochów (2012), a set of short lyri­cal es­says on the sub­ject of dy­ing and the dead, from which “Dog” is taken. He lives in a re­mote vil­lage in south­east­ern Poland and trav­els ex­ten­sively in Cen­tral and Eastern Europe and the for­mer Soviet Union.

Arthur Sze’s latest book of po­etry is Com­pass Rose (Cop­per Canyon, 2014). He re­ceived the 2013 Jack­son Po­etry Prize and is a chan­cel­lor of the Academy of Amer­i­can Po­ets.

most re­cent books are Tourist in Hell (Univer­sity of Chicago, 2010), The Girl with Bees in Her Hair (Cop­per Canyon, 2004), and The Rag-picker’s Guide to Po­etry: Po­ems, Po­ets, Process, coedited with Mau­rice Man­ning (Univer­sity of Michigan, 2013).

Mar­garet Withers’s paint­ings have been shown ex­ten­sively in the United States, Europe, China, and Rus­sia, and she has re­ceived nu­mer­ous awards in­clud­ing res­i­den­cies to the Ver­mont Stu­dio Cen­ter and the Mil­lay Colony. She cur­rently lives in Man­hat­tan. See more at www.mar­garetwith­ers.com.

Con­trib­u­tors’ Notes

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