Thursday, December 01, 2005

This is Louisa Solano of the "Grolier Poetry Book Shop" receiving the "Ibbetson Street Press Lifetime Achievement Award," from Doug Holder at the "Somerville News Writers Festival," Nov. 13, 2005 at "The Somerville Theatre.

Photo Courtesy: Susie Davidson

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Rebel: Poems by Charles Baudelaire. Translated by Leslie H. Whitten Jr. ( Presa S Press Rockford, MI. 49341 PO BOX 792) $7

Leslie H. Whitten has translated a collection of poetry by Charles Baudelaire. Baudelaire who was born in Paris in 1821; seemed to have a bone to pick with society-at-large, and most importantly with complacency.
He seemed to be deathly afraid of conformity, and had a terminal fear of “boredom.” Called by some: “a bored Satanist,” his poetry is laced with invectives against the status quo. In his poem: “To The Reader,” the most fearsome of the devil’s spawn, is quite a banal thing:

One is more ugly, cruel, the filthiest of the spawn!
He never gestures, shouts, his manner is not rash,
Yet he would make of earth a heaping bin of trash
Or gobble up the world with one enormous yawn.

His name is Boredom! In his eyes a tear or two.
He smokes a hookah, dreams of gallows tree.
You know him, reader, this effete monstrosity.
Hypocrite reader, you, my image—brother—You!

I have been introduced to Rimbaud as well as Baudelaire by Eric Greinke and the Presa Press, the publisher of this collection. I don’t pretend to be a judge of translations, but the poet laureate of France opined of Whitten’s work: “…you will find here a poet-translator who steers between the dangers of expansive ego and slavish transcription. Whitten… has found the rare and fragile metric devices to orchestrate and give nuance…”

Doug Holder/Ibbetson Update/ Nov. 2005