Poetic Duels

My friend Michael Standaert, who writes the Nipposkiss literary blog, has been putting together a nice series of interviews with the writers from the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. He recently interviewed writer/poet Matthias Goertitz about the challenges of translating poetry and other topics.

Goeritz on the great Russian poets Alexander Pushkin and Mikhail Lermontov–and dueling:

To have that fight between the romantic soul and someone very rational
… maybe this is my only postmodern link … he sees his cage of words, he
sees his cage of conflicts and he doesn’t know how to come out. In
every poem and story of Lermontov there are moments when everything
explodes, the character implodes and everything around him explodes.
There is never a happy ending in that. I guess I try to figure out in
my writing and in some sense in my life how to overcome that, to come
through that.


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