Ágnes Nagy’s Poetic Prose translated by Hugh Maxton.

Baskin Mosquito.
Baskin Mosquito.

From ‘Leaf-Stalks’

“Yet I would not dismiss the nonentities. The things that nearly are not. Journey of woodbine, ampelopsis on the ancient walls (of garden and its house), clutch of tendrils and trailing plants, the shuffling of their minute paws, with pads of suction for terminals of their thread-like minute fingers, and claws, green zig-zag path of lizards this way and that, climbing always higher until, until there are masterpieces of space-fillment. No question of it: indeed we bathe our faces in the roistering fire of some noted blooms, therby healing up our remoteness. But what of the props and supports? Candle-stick under the candle’s flame, the stalks, the vegetable scales, thorny pronged candelabras. And the floating wicks, nightlights of a provisional kind, shoepolish tins in times of siege..”

From,Night-Stalks, from ‘Between’ by Agnes Nemes Nagy

In a brief afterword attached to this Volume of Between by Nagy, Hugh Maxton discusses his approach to collaborative translation, along with a brief description of the history and political situation in Hungary in terms of linguistic revival and conservation. It’s well worth the read, I shall be looking for an online link to add in here. In my last piece on translation , I alluded to the appalling translations of Nagy that I found online whilst searching for material by the writer and in brief to the importance of linguistic heritage, (though I am no expert in the field ), it’s actually easy enough to identify a terrible translation into English.

The Nagy/Maxton collaboration is a triumph in sensitivity and awareness, thus his approach to the project is something I would recommend to people who are interested in the area of disseminating literature either online or in publication.

I also like Gallagher’s translations of Ursu and some scraps of Agren Mc Elroy’s work on Nelly Sachs, both of whom I have mentioned on Poethead before now.

Between, The Selected Poems of Agnes Nemes Nagy, trans High Maxton,
Corvina Press Budapest, Dedalus Press, Dublin, 1988

Leonard Baskin Woodcuts.

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