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3.87  ·  Rating details ·  119 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Not quite translations--yet something much more, much richer, than mere tributes to their original versions--the poems in Imitations reflect Lowell's conceptual, historical, literary, and aesthetic engagements with a diverse range of voices from the Western canon. Moving chronologically from Homer to Pasternak--and including such master poets en route as Baudelaire, Rimbau ...more
Paperback, 149 pages
Published October 1st 1990 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published October 15th 1984)
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Sep 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: translation
Love his Rimbaud translations.
Cooper Renner
Dec 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Skipped big chunks of this: most of Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Pasternak, Montale. Some decent versions of Rilke as well as the earlier translations.
Ronald Wise
Jul 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Reading this collection of poems was an interesting exposure to a group of European poets who wrote in languages other than English. Poet Lowell called them "imitations", as he did not intend them to be considered strict translations, but instead a re-creation of each as he imagined the poets would have written them in English and in these times. So free of the restraints of rhyming, meter, and at times the original objects of specific references, Lowell took liberties which he hoped would make ...more
Brian Kohl
Interesting to watch a good poet find inspiration in the global poetic tradition from ancient Greeks to modern Russians. My class spent some time discussing whether Lowell's approach was "imperialistic" -- e.g., rewriting over the top of a lesser-known foreign poet's actual words, loosely inspired by an amalgamation of other translators, and then calling it a translation. Seems like a bit of a waste of discussion to me, because translation is more an act of love, an homage to something other, an ...more
Sep 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
The concept is interesting. The execution -- absolutely despicable. Lowell had a tin ear for English prosody as it was without throwing the idea of "interpreting another poet's style" in as well. Makes for some awfully trite word order and rhymes. The translations/imitations for the French poems were especially constipated.
David Alexander
Jul 02, 2012 rated it liked it
A great talent but I only sometimes was transported. I admit, but maybe do not get, that probably the fault lies more with me, the reader. Partly I chafed at the bit of the requirements of this difficult poetry and did not give the poems enough slow readings. Everything in our world seems set for speed now and a poem requires pause and rereadings multiple times. Some poems I still feel like a fond kiss from, granted, a melancholic lover, are the translations of Giacomo Leopardi, some Baudelaire, ...more
Jul 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: horace
this inspired me to write "limitations" a poem abt the limitations of writing confessional poetry post-lowell. (maybe kinda similar to the point of this book, lowell thinking he could only produce imitations of villon etc instead of his own versions/translations?) i wrote most of my poem at a cafe called badde manors in glebe, sydney. fond memories of that cafe, not so much of the bad manners of the city. grown out of lowell now, but nothing then excited me more than rereading life studies.
Sep 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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Robert Lowell, born Robert Traill Spence Lowell, IV, was an American poet whose works, confessional in nature, engaged with the questions of history and probed the dark recesses of the self. He is generally considered to be among the greatest American poets of the twentieth century.

His first and second books, Land of Unlikeness (1944) and Lord Weary's Castle (for which he received a Pulitzer Prize
More about Robert Lowell...

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