Thursday, August 17, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Michael Hamburger (1924 – 2007)


German-born British translator and poet.
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Michael Hamburger
He was out of tune with what a younger generation of poets were writing, and railed against the shallowness and commercialisation of the modern world, from his fastness: a farmhouse surrounded by orchards in Middleton, Suffolk.
Hamburger quotes
The ploughman ploughs, the fisherman dreams of fish;
Aloft, the sailor, through a world of ropes
Guides tangled meditations, feverish
With memories of girls forsaken, hopes
Of brief reunions, new discoveries,
Past rum consumed, rum promised, rum potential.
Hamburger
I was invited to Romania at least once, but was warned that I should not be free to travel where I pleased in the country, but should be more or less confined to the Writers' Union. Because I ceased long ago to be an urban poet and feel claustrophobic in literary conferences, I could not accept such an invitation.




Hamburger Michael quotes
Translation came naturally to me because as a child I was translated from Germany to Britain.
Hamburger Michael
It is impossible for a poet to characterize his own work. From other people I gather that I am a gloomy poet, if not a tragic one.
Michael Hamburger quotes
Being pre-eminently a moralist, he needed a medium that enabled him to illustrate a moral insight as briefly and vividly as possible. Being an artist and sensualist, he needed a medium that was epigrammatic or aphoristic, but allowed him scope for fantasy and for that element of suggestiveness which he considered essential to beauty.
Michael Hamburger
I suppose that I am a very serious poet except for satirical verse, which I have also been compelled to write, though much of it may be inferior to my more serious poems perhaps because I am not playful enough by nature, and even my satirical or polemical verse is not entertaining.
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