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This article is taken from PN Review 243, Volume 45 Number 1, September - October 2018.

Love in Another Language
‘intricate accommodation’
A.E. Stallings
on Dick Davis’s Love in Another Language: Collected Poems and Selected Translations (Carcanet) £20

DICK DAVIS’s Love in Another Language: Collected Poems and Selected Translations represents over forty years of original poetry and translations from the Persian. Davis is hard to place in some ways, like an accent that has softened over time, travel and distance. Born in Portsmouth, Davis has spent almost all of his adult life out of the United Kingdom, living for a time in Italy and Greece, residing for eight years in Iran (1970 to 1978, in the lead-up to the violent Revolution), where he met and married his wife, Afkham (to whom this volume is dedicated), and finally settling down in Columbus, Ohio. He is probably better known in some American poetry circles (associated, in particular, with the poets sometimes described as ‘New Formalists’) than in British ones, and better known in academia as a Persian scholar than as a poet. What makes him hard to pigeon-hole, however, is also what makes him distinctive. As the Collected brings home, here we have a poet who is not only technically skilled and widely and deeply read, but a worldly poet engaged in history and politics, whose most timeless qualities end up being the most topical. Likewise, Davis is among a number of contemporary verse translators who are challenging the notion of translation as in some way a secondary art dependent on an original rather than a primal generative act in itself. (Translation is, I would assert and I think Davis would agree, a kind of linguistic ...


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