Elaine Feinstein and Amir Or
Chair: Fiona Sampson
Poet and translator Fiona Sampson chaired this session which took us into the worlds of two very special poets. Amir Or combines the mysteries of the spirit with the joys of the flesh, curious about mythology while carefully examining the Hebrew language.
Ted Hughes considered Elaine Feinstein ‘an extraordinarily fine poet. She has a sinewy, tenacious way of penetrating and exploring her subject that seems to me unique. There is nothing hit or miss, nothing for effect, nothing false. Reading her poems one feels cleansed and sharpened.’
Fiona Sampson is an award-winning poet and translator. She has published ten books and been translated into 12 languages. She is a specialist of the literatures of post-communist Europe. She is Amir Or’s translator into English.
Amir Or has published seven books of poetry and several collections in translation (The Gospel of Thomas, An Anthology of Erotic Greek Poetryand Stories from the Mahabharata). He has initiated the Helicon Society for the Advancement of Poetry in Israel and is the director of its Hebrew-Arabic poetry school. He is the local coordinator for Poets for Peace, sponsored by the UN.
Elaine Feinstein has written fourteen novels, her most recent Dark Inheritance. She is also the author of radio plays, television dramas, five biographies, the latest a biography of Anna Akhmatova, Anna of All the Russias and many poetry collections, including Daylight and Gold. She has received three translation awards for her translations of the poems of Marina Tsvetaeva. Her own poems have been widely anthologised.
Daniel Weissbort is a poet who translates from Russian mostly. Until recently he edited the magazine, Modern Poetry in Translation, which he founded with Ted Hughes in 1965. He was director of the Translation workshop at the University of Iowa and is now an honorary professor in the Centre for Translation and Cultural Studies, University of Warwick.