It must be this one, Mark? I went and googled, and this is the brief review from
www.shearsman.com; I'll have to see if I can find it,
Cavafy: I've Gazed So Much
(translated by George Economou, with illustrations by Dieter Hall. ISBN 0
Stop Press, London, 52pp, pb, £8.95).
It seems almost as if Cavafy's time has passed for English readers, and I can't
remember the last time I saw new translations of his work. I do however have
the old standby Keeley & Sherrard translations of the Collected Poems here on
my shelves (Hogarth Press, London, 1975), and it's been an interesting task
comparing these poems in the two different translations, especially since my
Greek runs no further then alpha, beta, gamma. The linocut illustrations in this
new book by Dieter Hall are excellent, and as erotic as you would expect for
this poet, but what of the translations?
Well, I went ahead with an A/B comparison of the Economou and Keeley/
Sherrard versions, poem by poem. Result? No contest — the Economou versions
in almost every case are far superior as poems to the older translations, which
often demonstrate a tin ear. I'm sure the K & S versions are correct lexically, but
they clunk badly at times and move clumsily. It's a question of being just that
little bit more courageous with the translations, and in this new one we have a
poet's sense of diction, of the mot juste, whereas in K & S we have lexical
correctness and a professorial ear. Given that the older version may well be out
of print, this is very recommendable, although (a slight word of warning) it does
seem to cover more of the early work and is thus not entirely representative.
---- Original message ----
>Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2005 17:19:28 -0500
>From: Mark Weiss <[log in to unmask]>
>Subject: Re: Haviaras translation
>To: [log in to unmask]
>If you can find it (all of my books are packed), George Economou did a
>lovely Cavafy chapbook I think last year. I'll try to get the info.
>At 01:07 PM 1/13/2005, you wrote:
>>Someone, who has previously been able to only read Cavafy in the Greek
>>the English translations somehow impassable, sent me a couple of
>>by Stratis Haviaras from his new translation of Cavafy's _The Canon_. I'm not
>>sure about getting the book here, though it may be more readily available
>>UK, and will be out here in the near future. So a sample from the Haviaras
>>Every so often he vows to lead a better life.
>>But when night comes again bearing its own counsel,
>>and its own allowances and its assurances,
>>when night comes again with its own energies,
>>he falls back, beaten down, back to the deadly joy.
>>For Them To Be Summoned
>>One candle is enough. Its gentle light
>>is more fitting, it will be more seemly
>>when the Shadows come, the Shadows of love.
>>One candle is enough. Tonight the room
>>must not have too much light. In deep reverie
>>and evocation, and in that subtle light,
>>here in the grip of deep reverie, I will conjure visions
>>so that the Shadows may come, the shadows of love.
>>trans. Stratis Haviaras