Recent Collections of Poetry in Translation

The High Window

*****

The Barbarians Arrive Today: Poems and Prose by C. P. Cavafy, translated by Evan
reviewed by Edmund Prestwich

The Barbarians Arrive Today: Poems and Prose by C. P. Cavafy, translated by Evan Jones. £19.99. Carcanet. ISBN 978 1 78410 994-3 3

‘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 Evan Jones’s The Barbarians Arrive Today gives all the canonical poems and a large number of unpublished ones (Jones calls them ‘hidden’) in English translation only, together with nine prose pieces.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 than any other versions I’ve seen…

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