Author Spotlight – Peter Rafferty, poet.
Peter Rafferty was born and lives in Carlisle.
His translations include poems by Guillevic, Quasimodo, Zanzotto and C.F. Colucci, with anthology appearances including the Faber Book of 20th Century Italian Verse. He is also a regular translator for the UK branch of the Lega Italiana Protezione Uccelli, Italy's BirdLife partner.
The Last Poems of Jules Laforgue represent many years of work. Only a few of the 54 poems, (43 from Des Fleurs de Bon Volonté and 11 from Derniers Vers), have ever bene published before.
In this collection Peter pays partcular attention to the orginal Laforgue structure of the poems including the punctuation which gives the English speaking reader greater insight into Laforgue's command of language and why T.S. Eliot himself remarked that it was Jules Laforgue who was 'the first to teach me how to speak...to teach me the poetic possibilities of my own idiom of speech...'
Reproduced here is the first poem from The Last Poems of Jules Laforgue.
My father, stern through timidity,
died with harshness engraved on his brow;
my mother likewise I barely knew,
so I've stood still since about twenty.
I then made Belles-Lettres my trade,
but the Demon of Truth slyly came,
whistling softly, always the same:
"Are your scribblings all done, you poor jade?"
And I haven’t the commitment to wed,
being merely despicable at base!
While They compete for the hardest face!!
But when ecstasy calls, they’re soon led!....
And so I spin pinned to my spot,
a thirty-six point weathercock,
who can’t give as much as oui or oc:
Young things! Let me serve as your Helot!
Poetry and Video
Click on this link to go to Peter Rafferty's poem 'Thalweg' on YouTube.
Peter's exceptional translation and reading of Bertolucci's poem 'February Wind' can be also viewed on YouTube. Click on the link.