Heroic Sonnets is a translation from the French of the book Les Trophées by the 19th-century Cuban/French poet José-Maria de Heredia. Robert Lowell called him “The man who told the history of the world in a thousand sonnet scenes…with a Tennysonian density and finish.” Heredia was an influence on Lowell’s History, which has the same structure, and includes an imitation of Heredia’s sonnet “The Trebia.” Heredia writes with strong imagery, music, immediacy, and compression, and the translation tries to be faithful to those values. The sonnets are pictorial; a number of them were directly inspired by the paintings of his friend Gustave Moreau. Its alexandrine lines are rendered as blank verse. Though the translations are unrhymed, that music is in part restored through assonance and alliteration; the quatrains and tercets of the original, which the rhymes defined, and which in Heredia’s hands are essential aesthetic units, stand. Heredia is famous for his haunting last lines, and this translation was made with a view to keeping that resonance.
– Larry Beckett
The Brooklyn Rail welcomes you to our web-exclusive section InTranslation, where we feature unpublished translations of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and dramatic writing. Published since April 2007, InTranslation is a venue for outstanding work in translation and a resource for translators, authors, editors, and publishers seeking to collaborate.
We seek exceptional unpublished English translations from all languages.
Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry: Manuscripts of no longer than 20 pages (double-spaced).
Plays: Manuscripts of no longer than 30 pages (in left-justified format).