Filomela is the fifth and final collection of translations from the hand of Alexander Kristiansen. There are more than a hundred translations of works by some of the best known authors through the ages.
The collection begins with a translation of
Archilochos, who was the first totally subjective poet in world literature. In
ancient Greece he was named together with Homer and Hesiod but only a few
fragments of his poetry have been preserved. Following this are approximately
20 poems (mostly epigrams) from Roman and Greek antiquity. Among them is the
poem Integrity by Horace. It is a well constructed poem and with his excellent
poetry Horace can be deemed to be among the Roman poets who have had the
greatest influence on the ages.
Eastern poetry is mostly represented by Li Po, the
great poet from the Tang dynasty.
From the Middle Ages up to the nineteenth century
there are poems from among others Michaelangelo Buanarotti, Alaxander Pope,
Goathe, Blake and Heinrich Heine. Several sonets are also included. One of
these was written by Scotsman Mark Alexander Boyd around 1600 but it did not
surface until the 20th century. Ezra Pound is known to have said that it is the
best sonet written in English.
The generation which emerged just before and during the
Second World War is represented among others by Ezra Pound, T.S. Elliot, Trakl,
Williams and Pasternak. Cummings and Neruda are also well represented in the
In the second half of the collections we find several
Nobel prize recipients: Czeslaw Miloz, Oktavio Paz, Wislawa Szymborska and
finally there is the Irishman Seamus Heaney with some of his stirring poems.
Relatively much room is given to Rutger Kopland, who
is not well known in our parts. He is Dutch and is highly esteemed in the Netherlends
and in German speaking countries. There has been talk of giving him the Nobel
prize. Another prospective for the Nobel prize is the Argentinian Juan Gelman.
Both of these can now be read in Faroese for the first time.
All in all these poems should give a good indication
of what has been written and sung on the world stage, ever since Archilochos as
the first one put forth his life “in print”.