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The Eyes (Faber Poetry) Paperback – 18 Oct 1999


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Product details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (18 Oct 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571200559
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571200559
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 12.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 394,659 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Don Paterson was born in Dundee in 1963. He works as a musician and editor, and has written four collections of poems, Nil Nil (1993), God's Gift to Women (1997) - winner of both the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, The Eyes (1999) and Landing Light, which won both the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Whitbread Prize for Poetry. Rain, his most recent collection, won the Forward Prize for Best Collection in 2009. Find out more about Don Paterson at his own website.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Don Paterson is a youngish Scottish poet with two fine collections to his name. Now he's followed up those successes with The Eyes, something of a surprise: a "creative translation" of the favourite poems of turn-of-the-19th-century Spanish writer Antonio Machado.

This is not some deliberately obscure and recondite exercise in literary antiquarianism. To judge by Paterson's diligent and skilful adaptations Machado was a gifted lyricist and an observant imagist. Moreover, Machado's peculiar subject matter--the fate and place of Spanish identity in a post-imperial world--has a certain undeniable resonance for Brits facing up to European integration and UK devolution.

Not that Paterson's Machado is ever heavy, or portentous. Most of the poems are short and sweet, or short and bittersweet; some are positively Haiku-esque in their poignant, wistful brevity. This is from Proverbs: "The Sun in Aries; my window / open to the cold air ... listen / the dusk has awoken the river". And this is from New Songs: "Beside the flowering mountain / the ocean's uproar / Salt grains in the honeycomb".

Perhaps the best of the poems is the title song, The Eyes, which combines a gift for lyrical one-liners (memory like a "great block of gold") with a subtle narrative thrust; the whole being greater than the sum of its already satisfying parts.

Shortlisted for the Whitbread Poetry Award, alongside worlds by such luminaries as Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney. If Paterson's book is not perhaps quite substantial or punchy enough to outrank such highfalutin opponents, it is, nonetheless, a very agreeable book or verse--and, given Machado's relative obscurity, a very commendable and intriguing exercise in "poet-to-poet" resuscitation. --Sean Thomas

About the Author

Don Paterson was born in Dundee in 1963. He is the author of Nil Nil (1993), winner of the Forward Prize for Best First Collection; God's Gift to Women (1997) - winner of both the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize; and Landing Light (2003), which won both the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Whitbread Prize for Poetry. Rain, his most recent collection, won the Forward Prize for Best Collection in 2009, the same year that he was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. He has also published versions of Antonio Machado (The Eyes, 1999) and Rainer Maria Rilke (Orpheus, 2006), as well as two collections of aphorisms. His Selected Poems appeared in 2012.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Nov 2009
Format: Paperback
As Paterson himself says in his afterword, his English versions of Machado's Spanish poems are like transposing a guitar piece to the piano. The instruments (languages) are so different that trying to play the same notes isn't going to produce anything that inspired. Paterson's solution to translation varies widely throughout the book, sometimes approaching literal translation and other times going as far as composing entirely new poems. As a reader of Machado in Spanish, I am amazed at how he has managed to capture Machado's rhythms and ambiguities and transpose them into English. Both for those who know Machado in the original and those who don't, this book opens up a whole world of poetic possibility.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By DAVID FERRER on 23 Mar 2000
Format: Paperback
This book by the highly acclaimed poet Don Paterson is a brilliant example of the impossibility of translating poetry. It doesn't matter because I am sure that Paterson didn't want to translate, but to create from a model. Paterson has made a deep and serious reading of the spanish symbolist poet Antonio Machado, and the result is not a translation but a superb collection of poems, where we can feel the main characteristics of Machado's world and mainly a new and personal vision by his translator. Sorry, almost a creator, a real poet. Absolutely brilliant.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Jan 2000
Format: Paperback
Don Paterson is the best of the young Scottish poets - who are the best in Britain just now. With a harder-edged lyricism than John Burnside, more range and musicality than Kathleen Jamie, he's more intelligent, and funnier, than Robin Robertson, and more politically and metrically sophisticated than Robert Crawford. While this new book - being loose translations from Machado - does not have quite the bite of his two previous collections, Nil Nil and God's Gift to Women, it is still marvellous work to be recommended to anyone interested in contemporary poetry.
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