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Visible Poets

The Editor of the 'Visible Poets' series, Professor Jean Boase-Beier, writes:

The Visible Poets series was established in 2000, and set out to challenge the view that translated poetry could or should be read without regard to the process of translation it had undergone. Since then, things have moved on. Today there is more translated poetry available and more debate on its nature, its status, and its relation to its original. We know that translated poetry is neither English poetry that has mysteriously arisen from a hidden foreign source, nor is it foreign poetry that has silently rewritten itself in English. We are more aware that translation lies at the heart of all our cultural exchange; without it, we must remain artistically and intellectually insular.

One of the aims of the series was, and still is, to enrich our poetry with the very best work that has appeared elsewhere in the world. And the poetry-reading public is now more aware than it was at the start of this century that translation cannot simply be done by anyone with two languages. The translation of poetry is a creative act, and translated poetry stands or falls on the strength of the poet-translator's art. For this reason Visible Poets publishes only the work of the best translators, and gives each of them space, in a Preface, to talk about the trials and pleasures of their work. From the start, Visible Poets books have been bilingual. Many readers will not speak the languages of the original poetry but they, too, are invited to compare the look and shape of the English poems with the originals. Those who can are encouraged to read both. Translation and original are presented side-by-side because translations do not displace the originals; they shed new light on them and are in turn themselves illuminated by the presence of their source poems. By drawing the readers' attention to the act of translation itself, it is the aim of these books to make the work of both the original poets and their translators more visible.

"While not always enjoying the work in this series, I applaud Arc's dedication in bringing us new poets and their worlds, commonplace and bizarre, in English. Not everything unknown can be easily understood and quantified, and that is a good thing. It kept the reviewer absorbed, and it will keep the reader sharp." Fiona Curran, Orbis 138, Autumn 2006