On Translating Hafez

On Translating Hafez


If we breath deep and long the rose

that we are painting,

its pollen affixes to our lashes,

its perfume to our tongue,

its name in our love.

Robert Bly and Leonard Lewisohn collaborated The Angels Knocking on the Tavern Door: Thirty Poems of Hafez.  Near the end of the book, Lewisohn notes their fifteen-year process.  I’m struck with the extensive labor, and I’m certain it must have been the process of doing this woork that was the reward and not any expectation of recognition or remuneration for a product.  This, of course, makes the volume so much the sweeter.


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