News Update: April
I have completed a selection of one hundred sonnets by the great Italian Renaissance poet, Gaspara Stampa, which will be published on the site in due course. Called 'the Sappho of our age' for her literary and musical skills, Gaspara further developed the Petrarchean sonnet, while recording the course of her love for Count Collaltino di Collalto, a Venetian nobleman, soldier and published poet. Mentioned by Rilke in the Duino Elegies simply as an example of a woman whose love went unrequited, she should be more fully recognised as a highly-intelligent writer who used the vicissitudes of her relationship with the Count as raw material for her art, such that her proclaimed love for him was at least equalled by her love of the Muse. She is one of the greatest exponents of the Italian sonnet form. These translations have been rhymed in a sonnet form suitable for English with its limited rhymes, rather than in their original rhyme scheme, in order to achieve workable English poems, while still exhibiting her skill and powers of construction, as well as the strength, combined with charm, of her verse.
My next project is a new rhymed translation of Alain Chartier's 15th century poem, 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' the title of which Keats used for his own famous but dissimilar poem. Written in one hundred verse octaves of octosyllabic lines, the narrator frames within it an extended, alternating dialogue between a melancholy lover and his lady, within the ethos of courtly love.
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