Is it possible for the original text to be reborn through the translator?
As the translator of these poems, what was the most difficult part of
your task in bringing Sutzkever’s text into English, and what about his
work do you most look forward to sharing with an English-language
The most difficult part of translating these poems was simply creating
real poetry in English, poetry with grace rather than the awkwardness
that can mark a poor translation. As for what I most look forward to
sharing with English readers, Sutzkever’s work has an imagination and
lyricism that are informed both by his sensibilities as a poet and by
his life experience. I think these qualities may be refreshing for
English readers, and I appreciate that they are packaged in seemingly
conventional quatrains: The form focuses the reader’s attention on just
how vast Sutzkever’s imagination was.