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Thursday, June 23, 2011
92Y Podcast From Poetry Center Archive: Edith Grossman On “The Most Difficult Poem In The World”

Last March, translators Edith Grossman and Clare Cavanagh discussed the tricks of their trade as part of our Books & Bagels series. Toward the end of the conversation, each of them offered an example of recent work, and Grossman read from “a book she is more excited about than any other book she has ever translated”: Luis de Góngora’s long poem “Soledades” (“The Solitudes”).

Next week, in celebration of Góngora’s 450th birthday, Grossman’s version of “Soledades” will finally be published. To mark the occasion, we’d like to share some of her thoughts with you in the podcast above. You can pre-order the book on Amazon.

Here, too, are the poem’s opening lines, in both Spanish and English, so you can follow along.

Era del año la estación florida
en que el mentido robador de Europa
—media luna las armas de su frente,
y el Sol todos los rayos de su pelo—,
    luciente honor del cielo,
en campos de zafiro pace estrellas;

It was the flowering season of the year
when Europa’s false-hearted abductor
—a half moon the weapons on his brow,
the Sun’s rays all the strands of his hair—
    oh bright glory of heaven,
grazes on stars in fields of sapphire blue;

In an ongoing effort to share with our readers some of the great literary moments which the Poetry Center has presented across the decades, this blog has begun to feature regular postings of archival recordings. For access to other recordings, please click here.

You can also download the MP3. [15.9 MB]

Unterberg Poetry Center webcasts and access to our archive are made possible in part by the generous support of the Sidney E. Frank Foundation.

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