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Times Alone: Selected Poems (Wesleyan poetry in translation) [Paperback]

Antonio Machado
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

1 July 1983 Wesleyan poetry in translation
Antonio Machado, a school teacher and philosopher and one of Spain's foremost poets of the twentieth century, writes of the mountains, the skies, the farms and the sentiments of his homeland clearly and without narcissism: ""Just as before, I'm interested/in water held in;/ but now water in the living/rock of my chest."" ""Machado has vowed not to soar too much; he wants to 'go down to the hells' or stick to the ordinary,"" Robert Bly writes in his introduction. He brings to the ordinary-to time, to landscape and stony earth, to bean fields and cities, to events and dreams-magical sound that conveys order, penetrating sight and attention. ""The poems written while we are awake...are more original and more beautiful, and sometimes more wild than those made from dreams,"" Machado said. In the newspapers before and during the Spanish Civil War, he wrote of political and moral issues, and, in 1939, fled from Franco's army into the Pyrenees, dying in exile a month later. When in 1966 a bronze bust of Machado was to be unveiled in a town here he had taught school, thousands of people came in pilgrimage only to find the Civil Guard with clubs and submachine guns blocking their way. This selection of Machado's poetry, beautifully translated by Bly, begins with the Spanish master's first book, Times Alone, Passageways in the House, and Other Poems (1903), and follows his work to the poems published after his death: Poems from the Civil War (written during 1936-1939).

Product details

  • Paperback: 187 pages
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press (1 July 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0819560812
  • ISBN-13: 978-0819560810
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 588,676 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Bly "gives Machado with all of his tremendous sensitivity. He captures Machado's subtle sense of humor. He traces his stylistic and poetic experiments aimed at, as Machado put it, 'stitching the inner and the outer worlds together through poetry.' And finally, he sculpts for us the story of Machado's quiet though deeply passionate life. It was a life whose synthesis of joy and loss produced an uncommon blend of optimism and hope." --San Francisco Chronicle Review

About the Author

ANTONIO MACHADO (1875-1939), school teacher and philosopher, and one of Spain's foremost poets, writes clearly and without narcissism of the mountains, the skies, the farms and the sentiments of his homeland. He brings to the ordinary -to time, to landscape and stony earth, to beanfields ad cities, to events and dreams - magical sound that conveys order, penetrating sight, and attention. ROBERT BLY, the translator, is also the author of ten books of poetry. Antonio Machado was a strong influence on his first book of poetry, Silence in the Snowy Fields. Bly has edited and translated works of Swedish, German, Norwegian, and Persian poetry, including that of Neruda and Rilke. He received the National Book Award for poetry in 1968. His home is in Moose Lake, Minnesota.

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poems for the heart 7 May 2009
I have been aware of Machado for some time, having found two of his poems in other anthologies and been deeply touched by them. In this book there are many gems which have been sympathetically translated by Robert Bly. I have read other translations but nobody is able to see to the heart of Machado's work like Bly does. These poems are printed in their original Spanish on one page and in English on the opposite page. I have often had cause to regret not having a second language but here I felt it deeply. I would love to read these poems in their original form. Even as a non Spanish speaker I can see the beautiful rhythm of the way that Machado has crafted his verse. Beautiful poetry, they make me feel the privilege of being alive, an absolute feast for the soul.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor translation or new creation? 15 Sep 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
The charitable view is that Mr. Bly has attempted to translate the feeling of these poems, rather than the sense. The result is completely new poems loosely based on Machado's original.
Sadly, that is not my own view. Initially, in fact, my only thought was simply that the man is a terrible translator. Apparently Mr. Bly is himself a poet, which leads one to think that he has taken some liberties in "improving" on the Spanish original. He also has published translations from a large number of different languages. Perhaps he is a gifted linguist; perhaps (my own suspicion) he learns only enough of each language to make a stab at translation. Certainly THIS collection is a tremendous disappointment, and I am sad that some may come to Machado's excellent poems only in this sadly altered form. My own Spanish is good, but Machado uses many old words, and I had hoped for an expert translation. In this case, however, I will have to make do with a good Spanish only volume of Machado and margin notes made with the help of a dictionary. Maybe Mr. Bly's publisher will consider publishing my home grown version.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A sound introduction 18 July 2008
By Flippy - Published on Amazon.com
Lorca is often the first poet to come to North American minds when asked about Spanish poetry. Lorca's life is more dramatic, his intensity, his homosexuality, his death is by far more dramatic.

Antonio Machado is a big scruffier in image. Widowed before middle-age, Machado never quite recovered from the loss of his wife. He was a wanderer, a tutor, someone who might sit alone and calmly so at a cafe table, the ends of his pants a little worse for wear. He was drawn to philosophy and his poetry has a mystical quality to it. Yet his poems are like the songs of his Spanish youth. He is both outsider and native to the Spain that fills his poetry.

I found this translation to be a good introduction but not exceptional. Like the figure of Machado, the translations were a bit 'scruffy' at times. I recommend Willis Barnstone's larger tome. Reading Bly's renditions, I found the poems quite listless and sometimes dull - many had lost their gleam. In Barnstone's hands, I found the poems took on a deeper life. I am presently studying Spanish and will hopefully be able to read Machado in the original.

This is a good place to begin, but not the English zenith of Machado translations. Lorca has been well-serviced in English. I would like to see the same for Machado.
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Machado ill-served by ubiquitous Bly 4 May 2000
By Jonathan Mayhew - Published on Amazon.com
Bly deserves credit for introducing Spanish poetry to the American audience back in the 1950s and 1960s. Machado is a wonderful poet. Unfortunately, Bly is not a terribly good translator, and the result is a mismatch.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, deeply moving poetry 22 May 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Machado is one of Spain's greatest poets, and this collection includes some of his finest work. But amazon.com should get his name right: on most of the title bars, it's spelled MacHado, as if he were a Scot. He wasn't.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful imagery, best poet of our day 26 April 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Obviously best read in his native spanish, but the absolute second best is Robert Bly's translation. A must have book for anyone who enjoys poetry. I loved this book so much, and found it so thought provoking I bought 4 copies to give to friends!
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