Daniel Weissbort

Daniel Weissbort (30 April 1935 – 18 November 2013) was a poet, translator, multilingual academic and (together with Ted Hughes) founder and editor of the literary magazine Modern Poetry in Translation. He died at the age of 78, and was buried in the Brompton Cemetery in west London.

Daniel Weissbort was born in London in 1935, educated at St. Paul's school and Cambridge where he was a History Exhibitioner. Weissbort. In 1965, with Ted Hughes, founded the magazine Modern Poetry in Translation (MPT) which he edited for almost 40 years.[1] In the early Seventies he went to the USA where he directed, for over thirty years, the Translation Workshop and MFA Program in Translation[2] at the University of Iowa.

He was a Professor (Emeritus) of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Iowa, Research Fellow in the English Department at King's College, London University and Honorary Professor in the Centre for Translation and Comparative Cultural Studies at the University of Warwick.

In 1965, Ted Hughes founded with Daniel Weissbort the very influential journal of Modern Poetry in Translation which included bringing the work of Czesław Miłosz to the West who would later go on to win the Nobel Prize in literature. Weissbort and Hughes were instrumental in bringing to the English-speaking world the work of many poets who were hardly known from countries like Poland and Hungary which were controlled by the Soviet Union. Hughes wrote an introduction to a translation of Vasko Popa: Collected Poems in the Persea Series of Poetry in Translation under Daniel Weissbort, General Editor, which was reviewed with favour by premiere literary critic John Bayley of Oxford University in The New York Review of Books.[3]

Daniel Weissbort's anthologies of Russian poetry and of East European poetry are well known and he also published many collections of his own poetry. Anvil Press published his translational memoir of Joseph Brodsky, From Russian with Love.[4] He co-edited, for Oxford University Press, a historical reader in translation theory, which was published in 2006.[5][6] He wrote a book on Ted Hughes and translation and for Faber he edited the Selected Translations of Ted Hughes. The London Guardian newspaper wrote that Weissbort founded Carcanet Press.[7] Weissbort translated Missing Person by Patrick Modiano who received the Nobel Prize for Literature.[8][9]

On the Stanford University site of The Book Haven by Cynthia Haven, in an obituary of Daniel Weissbort, Daniel Weissbort is defined as a "master translator."[10] Also on this Stanford University web site, Weissbort is called a champion of translation.[11] Weissbort has genius in translation, obituary of Weissbort in Translationista.[12]

Ted Hughes has stated that [13]

"It's hard to imagine how anything could be more natural, relaxed and true to the writer's self, true to his secret, personal life, than Daniel Weissbort's poems. Maybe his many years of translating and sieving through translations of worldwide modern poetry have had something to do with it. He seems to have come out somewhere beyond poetic styles and mannerisms. His poems now have a peculiar, naked life. They move in a frankness and inner freedom and simplicity that seem to belong hardly at all to literature. Yet they leave an impression of intense patterns, a rich, artistic substance. In this new collection he has broken into new material, and brought his qualities to a pitch that will, for many of us, change the possibilities of English poetry. That's a large claim, but I think it can be made."