American versions by Eric Greinke
Perfectbound paperback, ISBN: 978-0-9772524-7-3, 108 pgs., $15.95
Known only to literati since its original small press publication in 1975, & two subsequent small press editions, widely-published poet Eric Greinke’s innovative American versions of Rimbaud’s best poems have received critical acclaim as the best translations of Rimbaud to date. These versions restore the music & imagery of the originals for English-language readers. Contains 35 of Rimbaud’s works accompanied by the original French, including Greinke’s hauntingly evocative version of The Drunken Boat, a poem considered by many to be the single best poem ever written in any language. Includes a twelve-page introduction by the poet-translator & an index of first lines. A ‘must have’ for all students & readers of classic poetry.
“Greinke’s renderings come across with such a remarkably contemporary feel, that he easily gets away with the occasional use of words like ‘car’ and ‘suburbia’. This little collection boasts many fine poems. The Drunken Boat is wild and lovely and perhaps the poet’s most vivid expression of his desire to find a life of total freedom.” -Edward J. Hogan, Aspect
“The poems are brief, yet flower with sparkling beauty, embodying the human yearning for freedom and the poet’s struggle to release himself from convention. A wondrous collection, featuring verses that beg to be read aloud in either tongue.” –The Midwest Book Review
“I’m attracted to Greinke’s approach for several reasons. First, because he’s a poet who’s unapologetically trying to translate poetry into poetry. A tough proposition requiring shameless intuition and not only the courage – but the inner need to risk ‘poetic flight.’ The need to work without a net. Another reason I’m attracted to Greinke’s approach is that for him, Rimbaud is a labor of love, not a “project.” In his introduction, he talks about a feeling of déjà vu when first encountering Rimbaud. And describes what seems an almost compulsive sense of appropriated ownership. An annoyance at the existing translations. ‘A need to do his own.’ To a non-translator, these feelings may sound a little over the top. But to any one who translates poetry – they’re instantly recognizable. Greinke’s only saying what most poetry translators think, but usually think twice about saying. I’ve often felt a translator needs to look beyond the words and beneath the text for the roots of the original poem. What really differentiates Greinke’s version is that it reads like a poem written in English. And I think this was accomplished by tapping the roots as well as the words of the original. By “internalizing” the original and letting the new poem shape itself in the new language. Rather than forcing the French into English.” -Art Beck, Rattle
“For music, for the flow, the force of the spirit, Greinke is the easy winner. Although the auditory music of Rimbaud is impossible to capture in English, Greinke is true to the inner music, while giving a sense of the flow of the original. His language is sensuous and wild and feels right.” -Harry Smith, The Small Press Review
“The images are lovely, lush and luxuriant. Rimbaud comes across as an artist in love with love, with art; in love with the romantic notion of the poet trying to free himself from convention. The poems here can only be described as rich: with both metaphor, and music. Greinke has produced an accessible and evocative piece of work.” -Doug Holder, The Chiron Review