Category Archive: Translator

A lamp left burning

A lamp left burning

3rd June 2021

A version of this review appeared in The TLS in June 2021. It is 75 years since the tragic death of Friedo Lampe, the disabled gay writer who survived the Nazi era only to be summarily shot by the Red Army just days before the end of the War.  When, within months of coming to […]

Three little hazel twigs

Three little hazel twigs

17th December 2020

I was recently reminded about the German tradition of the Barbarazweig, and thought I’d share a short Advent piece by Hugo Distler (1908–1942) which I translated some years ago: I first sang it back in December 1995, when I was living in Germany, and found it quite charming. Distler’s work is little known in the […]

The Angel and the Unicorn

The Angel and the Unicorn

8th October 2020

According to The New Oxford Book of Carols, this year marks the 125th anniversary of the famous carol known in English as ‘Gabriel’s Message’. It is actually a translation, by Sabine Baring-Gould, of a Basque carol, Birjina gaztettobat zegoen, which was collected by the French musician Charles Bordes and published in his Dix cantiques populaires […]

Requiem

Requiem

2nd June 2020

I had a very nice response to last week’s post, on Anna Akhmatova. This week, I thought I’d write about another poet I have translated: Gottfried Benn. I originally came across his first published poem sequence, Morgue (1912), when I was at university and had always been disappointed at other English translations which, to me […]

I’ve learned to live a life that’s simple

I’ve learned to live a life that’s simple

28th May 2020

As many of you may know, I also write choral music, and am always on the lookout for interesting texts to set. Early last year, a friend sent me an English translation of a poem she liked by Anna Akhmatova, thinking it may appeal. The translation didn’t rhyme and, curious, I went to find Akhmatova’s […]

Banned by the Nazis: Banned Books Week 2019

Banned by the Nazis: Banned Books Week 2019

25th September 2019

Three years ago, I blogged about Friedo Lampe, an insatiable book-buyer and author whose first novel was banned by the Nazis when it was published in 1933. Since then, my interest in his life and writing has grown into something a bit more tangible: earlier this year, Hesperus Press published my translation of Lampe’s Am […]