These Numbered Days by Peter Huchel translation Martyn Crucefix (Shearsman Books)

Many thanks to Ian Brinton and ‘Tears in the Fence’ for this review.

Tears in the Fence

In the Editorial to the current issue (71) of Tears in the Fence I have quoted from Michael Heller’s autobiographical account of his early years, Living Root, A Memoir (S.U.N.Y. 2000) and as I look at the elegiac exactness of Peter Huchel’s poems as translated by Martyn Crucefix I am struck again by what I had read from the American poet’s concern for the “ritual forms and objects” associated with his Jewishness:

“As a child in the early nineteen forties, six or seven years old in Miami Beach, even as I sat, sunk deep in the velvet plush seats of Temple Emmanuel on Washington Avenue, feeling the rapture of the ritual occasions, I sensed I was climbing a cliff face, the very physiognomy of otherness, the pathways of memory by which I skirted the fragile edging of the present.”

Remembering his grandfather, a rabbi and teacher, he recalled how “all…

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4 thoughts on “These Numbered Days by Peter Huchel translation Martyn Crucefix (Shearsman Books)

    • Hi Karen – yes pleased it’s getting some notice. Lots of people have been very kind about it. I agree that we might be now in a position to learn a lot from him. Hope you and yours are keeping well (and well out of things) All best

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  1. Dear Martyn Crucefix I’ve been reading your Huchel translation, and I wanted to let you know how compelling I’m finding it. It feels as if it’s *exactly* the poetry I want to be reading at the moment. Not consolation or comfort, but a painful knowledge that finds a way to be alive in memory and exile. A voice like cold water or stone, both ancient and immediate.

    I’m not a German speaker and I knew almost nothing of Huchel, so thank you for introducing me to his work through these bleak and beautiful translations.

    All good wishes

    Judith Willson

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    • Many thanks Judith much appreciated and I must say it’s interesting the number of people who are voicing something similar. Huchel saw some of the worst of times and that’s what we seem to need now. Keep safe and well.

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