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Transom:
How did you come to translate Šalamun’s work?

Richards:
I think it was in the spring of 1999 when Brian Henry invited me along with six other poets to a restaurant in New York where it was thought Šalamun would appear. He did appear and after dinner the group of us went for a stroll together. I remember all this fierce competitive smoking, the odd scarf, and lots of shy laughter for those were the days.

Transom:
What relationships do you see between Šalamun’s work and your own?

Richards:
After I read my first Šalamun poem I began to see words as physical things. Things that can sometimes happen to each other and so I try to be alert to that.

Transom:
In your poems, much like in Šalamun’s, anything can become divine, and anything demonic – as in full of suffering. Is there a specific cosmology at play in your work? When all visions are more or less terrifying, how can you tell if you’re looking at a god or a devil?

Richards:
Most fear the good visible sounds and why the devil’s tail in all brains thrashing repairs to its sound.

Sample Translations:
jubilat
Octopus
Boston Review