Facsimiles of Time: Essays on Poetry and Translation

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The Porcupine's Quill, 2001 - Literary Criticism - 252 pages

Eric Ormsby is a poet who writes prose that is both graceful and hard-headed. With an outspoken contempt for cant and literary persiflage, Ormsby ranges over a surprising array of writers and literatures. Each essay involves a new and sometimes startling viewpoint, whether on Hart Crane's homosexuality and its effect on his poems or the strange and twisted, yet redeeming, place which Shakespeare held in his own family history. From American and Canadian poetry to Classical Arabic literature Ormsby brings a fresh slant and incisive expression to his prose.

What was Franz Kafka doing at a ski resort in the last years of his life and what did he do there besides tobogganing? Everyone knows that Jorge Luis Borges was bookish, but did you know he was bloodthirsty as well? How is Pat Lowther's posthumous reputation as a poet connected with the brutal circumstances of her murder? These and other mysteries are explored in the 17 elegant essays that make up Eric Ormby's new book.


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Thanks Mr. Ormsby.
I had translated the Borges' Averroes' Search from the English text of Hurley to Farsi (Persian). I knew Ibn Sina was not blind. I checked another English translation and that one
had the same error. I though this might be one of Borges' tricks to transfer his blindness to Ibn Sina, because may be when he was writing him he was putting himself in his position. I was not happy with that interpretation so I started searching the web. Fortunately tonight I came across you article, and it makes complete sense. I am happy as a clown! And thanks again for solving my dilemma.
you are right about "ashab ul kahf" in Zahir. Islamic culture is well aware of that. I was surprised about Hurley's note in that case too. That made me take his comments by a grain of salt.
Being Persian myself and I have translated 8 of Borges' stories which has any reference to the Middle Eastern or Islamic culture. What a cosmopolitan writer!


The Hidden Life of Words
Hart Crane at 100
The Place of Shakespeare in a House of Pain

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About the author (2001)

Eric Ormsby's poetry has appeared in most of the major journals in Canada, England and the U.S., including The New Yorker, Parnassus and The Oxford American. His first collection of poems, Bavarian Shrine and other poems (ECW Press, 1990), won the QSpell Award of 1991. In the following year he received an Ingram Merrill Foundation Award for `outstanding work as a poet'. His collection, Coastlines (ECW Press, 1992), was a finalist for the QSpell Award of that year.

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