Khodasevich reviewed in the TLS

I’m very pleased by the review by G.S. Smith (Emeritus Professor of Russian at Oxford). I even do quite well out of the penultimate paragraph, where the ifs and buts always come in reviews:
“In his own introduction, and particularly in his notes, Daniels is disarmingly open and honest about his method, and about the compromises with semantic equivalence it entails. In both these accounts, though, he ignores the massive legacy of linguistics- and statistics-based Russian expertise concerning European verse form. Fortunately, his ear is consistently better than his theoretical grasp.”

Other quotable moments to preen with:

“Peter Daniels and Angel Books have given us an English Khodasevich worthy of his stature.”

The translations “capture the intelligence, the unerring good taste, and the controlled passion of the originals. They are also commendably close to the primary meaning of the Russian, with its laconically observed social reality tending towards the sordid, but with constant saving glimpses of an angelic realm.”

“There are no disasters, and several ringing triumphs.”

“Knowledge of Khodasevich was always restricted to the literary elite, but he was never completely forgotten, and in post-Soviet times his poetry has risen in esteem. Thanks to Peter Daniels, his reputation may now take off among English-speaking readers.”

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Waiting for the Barbarians again

I wrote this a long time ago, based on Cavafy’s “Waiting for the Barbarians”. It’s very out of date in a lot of topical detail but not in other ways.

Reception
after Cavafy; 2001

Something’s going on here at the Eurostar terminal.
What’s it all about?

Didn’t you hear? It’s a welcoming party for the refugees.

Is that Jack Straw over there? And Anne Widdecombe,
hovering close to those canapés?

Yes. They really felt they should make an effort.
The House of Commons is all down here today,
they could use a break, and the refugees are really more important.

And Her Majesty, nice headscarf.

Yes, very Balkan, isn’t it.
She’s brought some Balmoral tartan ones to give out as presents.

Look at Tony and Cherie, absolutely dazzling –
is that Vivienne Westwood they’re wearing?

Yes, they thought they’d push the boat out,
show off the best of British.

Is he going to make a speech about how glad he is to welcome them?

No, he’s realised no one takes any notice,
least of all the ones you mean to impress.

What’s up? People are murmuring.
Someone’s already started the Bulgarian Merlot
and Anne Widdecombe’s got stuck in to the butterfly prawns.
Shouldn’t they have waited for the refugees?

We’ve just heard that the train’s in
and everyone’s papers were in order.
Nobody clinging to the axles, it’s all rather a let-down.
Maybe they’ve just stopped coming.

And they’ve only just built a new reception centre
on the Greenwich peninsular. Now what do they do with it?
Who do they blame?