Joachim du Bellay (1522?-1560) was a French poet of the Pléiade. He wrote their manifesto, La Defence et illustration de la langue francoyse, which urges the use of French as the literary language. His poetic works are broadly imitative of Latin and Italian works. He served in Rome as secretary to his cousin, Cardinal Du Bellay. Les Regrets and Les Antiquités de Rome contain some of his finest poems and convey his nostalgia for his native land. The Antiquités were translated by Edmund Spenser.
Sigitas Geda is Lithuania's best known poet in Europe and a prolific translator, with thirty books of poems to his credit as well as essays and children's books. His poems travel through folk tales, religion, urban and rural landscapes, history, and the mysterious dimensions of the Baltic world. His innovations have influenced whole generations of Lithuanian poets. A volume of his selected poems, Biopsy of Winter, will appear in Summer, 2002.
Jan Kochanowski was born in Poland in 1530 and died in 1584. He spent much of his time in the court and spent several years in Padua, Italy. He is credited with introducing many of the ideas of the Italian Renaissance into Polish literature. His most famous works are his play, The Dismissal of the Greek Envoys, and Laments (from which this translation is taken), a series of poems about the death of his eighteen-month old daughter. Kochanowski is the most important Polish poet before Romanticism.
Osip Mandelstam, one of Russia's major poets, was actually born in Warsaw in 1891. Much of his work was unknown in Russia during his lifetime and went unpublished during the Stalin era. He first gained fame as a poet with Stone in 1913. Tristia followed in 1922, confirming his standing as a poet. Because of his protests against the totalitarian regime, much of his life was spent in prison. He died in the Gulag in 1938.
Grzegorz Musial is the author of six books of poetry and four novels. He has served as editor for leading Polish magazines and in 1994 published America, America!--an anthology of 55 American poets in translation. He has received the Stanislaw Pietak Award and the Stanislaw Wyspianski Award, the foremost literary prize given in Poland. He had a Fulbright Fellowship to the U.S. in 1990.
Besnik Mustafaj is a contemporary Albanian poet, novelist, and diplomat and a long-time human- rights activist. Born in 1958, he is author of four collections of poetry, two collections of essays, children's books, a play, and five novels. His most recent novel, The Void, appeared in France in 1999, where it won the Medicis Prize. Mustafaj has been a representative to the Albanian parliament. He served as Albania's ambassador to France from 1992-1997.
Inge Pedersen, a contemporary Danish author, has published four collections of poems, a volume of short stories, and two novels. These poems are from her 2000 book, Den Trettende Maaned (The Thirteenth Month.)
Elena Stefoi is author of five books of poetry, most recently The Starting Line (1996), from which these poems are taken. Other titles include Daily Rehearsal (1986), Sketches and Stories (1989), and A Few Details (1990). Her work has been honored by the Romanian Writers' Union and she was one of four Romanian poets in Michael March's Penguin Anthology, Child of Europe. Stefoi has been an editor of the political-cultural journal Dilema and a correspondent for Radio France and l'Invitation in Bucharest. She is also served as General Consul at the Romanian Consulate in Montreal. Adam Sorkin's collaborative versions of Stefoi's poetry have appeared in English in Dominion Review, Pif Magazine, Pennsylvania English, Compost, and Romanian Civilization.
Ivón Gordon Vailakís' first collection of poetry, Nuestrario, was published in Mexico by Impreteri Press in 1987 and her third, Manzanilla de insomnio, is forthcoming from El Conejó in the summer of 2002. Individual poems have appeared in journals in Ecuador and Mexico and translations in U.S. journals, including Crab Orchard Review, Blue Mesa Review, and The Drunken Boat. As a scholar, she has particular interest in the work of Gabriela Mistral. A professor and former chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literature at University of Redlands, she was a Fulbright Scholar to Ecuador in 2002.
César Vallejo is one of Peru's most famous and challenging poets. Born in 1892 in the Andes, he used the landscape of the New World as an intersection of family, culture, and language. The title Trilce is a neologism of uncertain meaning, in which Vallejo assumed a new identity through his work.
Kerry Shawn Keys lives in Vilnius, Lithuania, where he writes poems, translates, occasionally teaches at the university, and runs a poetry reading series out of his Hermescort Saloon--plenty of vodka, plenty of dithyrambic reveling. He has a couple dozen books to his credit and lives in a state of congenial bankruptcy as a freelance metaphysician.
Leonard Kress's third collection, Orphics, will come out from Kent State University Press in the spring. His most recent work is Sappho's Apples. He has had poetry and translations in APR, The Missouri Review, and The Massachusetts Review. He teaches at Owens College in Ohio.
Lynn Levin is the author of one collection of poems, A Few Questions About Paradise (Loonfeather Press, 2000), and is the translator of The Forest: Poems by Besnik Mustafaj (PM Chapbooks, 2000). She teaches at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Marilyn Nelson's third book, The Homeplace, was a finalist for the 1991 National Book Award and won the 1992 Annisfield-Wolf Award. Her The Fields of Praise: New and Selected Poems was a finalist for the 1997 National Book Award and won The Poets' Prize. Her new book, Carver: A Life in Poems, has won the Boston Post/Hornbook Award. In 2001 she was named Poet Laureate of the state of Connecticut.
Lia Purpura's collection of lyric essays, Increase (University of Georgia Press), received the 1999 Associated Writing Programs Award in Creative Nonfiction. Two collections of her poems have been published, The Brighter the Veil (Orchises Press) and Stone Sky Lifting, which won the 2000 Ohio State University Press/The Journal Award. In 1992 she was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Poland to translate four contemporary poets. Poems of Grzegorz Musial: Berliner Tagebush and Taste of Ash was subsequently published by Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. She teaches writing at Loyola College in Baltimore.
Rebecca Seiferles third poetry collection, Bitters (Copper Canyon 2001) won the Western States Book Award and a Pushcart Prize. Her translation of Vallejo's The Black Heralds is forthcoming from Copper Canyon; her translation of Vallejo's Trilce (Sheep Meadow 1992) was the only finalist for the PenWest Translation Award. She is founding editor of The Drunken Boat.
David Slavitt is an American poet of the new Pleiade and also a novelist and translator. His recent volumes include Falling from Silence (LSU Press), The Sonnets of Love and Death of Jean de Sponde (Northwestern University Press) and Propertius in Love: The Elegies of Sextus Propertius (University of California Press). His translation of The Regrets of Joachim Du Bellay will appear in 2003 from Northwestern University Press.
Adam J. Sorkin has published sixteen books of translations of contemporary Romanian poetry, including Sea-Level Zero, poems by Daniela Crasnaru (BOA Editions, 1999) and The Triumph of the Water Witch, Prose Poems by Ioana Ieronim (Bloodaxe, 2000). The latter was short-listed for the Weidenfeld Prize at Oxford; Liliana Ursu's The Sky Behind the Forest (Bloodaxe, 1997), which Sorkin translated with the poet Tess Gallagher, was also short-listed for the Weidenfeld, and Sorkin's collaborative translation of Marta Petreu's poems won the 1999 Kenneth Rexroth Memorial Translation Prize. Sorkin is working on a book-length volume of Mihai Ursachi's poetry, Madness and Light. His translation with Lidia Vianu of Marin Sorescu's deathbed volume, The Bridge, is forthcoming from Bloodaxe.
J. C. Todd is an author of two collections of poetry, Entering Pisces (1985) and Nightshade (1995), both published by Pine Press. Individual poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, The Paris Review, Prairie Schooner, and other journals. Her feature on contemporary Lithuanian poets in translation and her quarterly column on poetry and language, riverviews, appear in The Drunken Boat, where she is a contributing editor. She has been the recipient of a Leeway Award, a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship, a VCCA international artist exchange award, and four Pushcart Prize nominations for poetry.
Liana Vrajitoru is a graduate student in English at the State University of New York in Binghamton. Her translations (with Adam Sorkin) have appeared in Poetry New York, Eclectic, Faultline, Apostrof, Pif Magazine, Compost, Kalliope (forthcoming), The Kit-Cat Review, Smartish Pace, and the anthologies Day After Night and City of Dreams and Whispers.