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The Barbarians Arrive Today C. P. Cavafy, translated by Evan Jones – review

‘Traditore traduttore.’ All translations involve distortion, dilution or both, and good translations of great poetry tease us with the desire to get closer to the original than any one version can bring us. Evan Jones’s The Barbarians Arrive Today gives all the canonical poems and a large number of unpublished ones (Jones calls them ‘hidden’) in English translation only, together with nine prose pieces. It’s a valuable supplement to existing translations, for those who already know Cavafy, and a good point of entry for those who don’t. There are masterstrokes in it that throw a brighter light on particular poems … Continue Reading

Deborah Landau, Soft Targets – review


You can read my review of Soft Targets on the London Grip by clicking here.

Martyn Crucefix, Cargo of Limbs – review

Describing the attempts of refugees from war to cross the Mediterranean into Europe, Martyn Crucefix’s Cargo of Limbs is about borders in the most concrete, desperate and morally challenging way. He makes the current crisis resonate with Virgil’s epic story of the refugees from Troy by shaping it as a revision of part of Book 6 of the Aeneid, describing Aeneas’s journey to the underworld. You don’t need to know this background to understand the poem, but it adds a dimension if you do.

The poem itself consists of 60 unrhymed quatrains, many broken mid line by the asterisks that divide  … Continue Reading

Philip Gross, Between the Islands – review

The epigraph to Between the Islands is a quotation from Guillevic’s Carnac, ‘Nous n’avons de rivage, en vérité, / Ni toi, ni moi’: in John Montague’s translation, ‘We have no shore, really, / Neither you nor I’. This questioning of boundaries is followed by ‘Edge States’, three poems that seem to find them everywhere:

Sunlight, late
…………………..in the year, the edge
of winter. Light like stainless steel.
Just out of hearing,
…………………………..the ring
of its thin blades fencing with itself.
Light like glass
…………………….that, let fall
on water growing harder at the edge
of freezing,
……………….could break.

What makes that opening gripping … Continue Reading

Selima Hill, My Mother with a Beetle in her Hair – review


Selima Hill, My Mother with a Beetle in her Hair, Shoestring Press; 40pp, £6


You can find my review on the London Grip by clicking here.