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A Letter to the translator

Andrey Tavrov


Dear Andrei Vitalievich!

Let me continue our conversation started during the Moscow Book Fair at the booth showing your translation of The Cantos. I began to read this magnificent book. The first thing I enjoyed was the long foreword to the book, one of the few commentaries on Pound that does not drown in the chorus of mandatory excuses and reservations about his “political views,” but speaks of him as a poet of genius. Secondly, you do not focus on Pound’s “failure,” an idea which is accepted in most works on The Cantos, but consider this colossal poem in a way it truly deserves — as a living pulsation of the universe framed within great lines and massive sections. Thirdly, you do not take the so-called “Pound’s repentance” as your main topic. Though any true repentance is precious in itself, in this case, by becoming an obligatory subject without which it is impossible to talk about Pound, it frightens with its importunity. And most importantly, the preface is written in a very clear, effortless and deep manner, showing indisputable knowledge of the material and topics in question. I have not seen such pleasing clarity and consistency of presentation for a long time.

I have read the first two sections of your translation of The Cantos, holding both the original and a dictionary to hand. A deep, echoing sound and magical dreams that turned into reality have accompanied this reading: this was the same clear and distinct Pound, as he appeared in the preface. Other translations that I read before — Kudryavitsky (is this the name?), Probstein, Sedakova, Faray — had different degrees of success; however, the inner heat and ardour of Pound’s poetry could not be revealed by anyone but you.

Pound’s poetry is close and kindred to me, so let me thank you from the bottom of my heart, noting that the rhythm of Pound’s verse that you spoke of during our brief meeting in Moscow really does live and breathe, change and return to itself in the beginning sections of your translation, as well as in those parts where I have selectively looked.

In parallel, I was reading your poetry book Species Evanescens, which is an extremely interesting and lively work, showing a poetry interwoven with a historical diary; moreover, the book itself is published in very good taste. I have recommended your poetry book and your translation of The Cantos to all my friends. It is strange that you and I have not had a chance to meet and talk until now.

I thank you once again for the permanent joy of reading The Cantos in Russian.


Andrey Tavrov,