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Marilyn Hacker

Marilyn Hacker

Marilyn Hacker is the author of twelve books of poems, including Names (Norton, 2009) and Desesperanto (Norton, 2003) and an essay collection, Unauthorized Voices ( Michigan, 2010). Among her translations from the French, King of a Hundred Horsemen (Farrar Strauss and Giroux, 2008) received the 2009 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. For her own work, she received the PEN Voelcker Award for poetry in 2010. She is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. She lives in Paris.

Fugue On A Line Of Amr Bin M'ad Yakrib

Those whom I love have gone
And I remain, like a sword, alone.

Gone, yes, or going, determination hardens
Into a self-destructive stubbornness.

What melody will resonate its presence
If you play the same old self-reflective chord alone?

Someone who wrote, "Never to lose you again,"
Moved, sent no message with a new address

And in that memory there is a mountain,
Above it, a reddish hawk that swooped and soared alone.

Who held a sword and said that he resembled
A sword, in his solitude was nothing less.

Between the old man and the steely angel,
A sleep-drunk intern holding down the ward alone.

The word-root's there, you look into the branches'
 Cadence and contexts you can only guess.

Translating from a slow-emerging language
Resembles dialogue, and I'm less bored, alone.

Though it's a doubled blade to be a weapon
And turn yourself onto your own distress.

Silent among her servants, Balqis riding
Back toward her queendom praised the Lord alone.

If the beloved asked, what would you wish of me?
That without my asking, you would answer "Yes".

The glass of wine not offered to the green-eyed stranger,
The nightly second glass of wine I poured alone.


Robert Bly
Climbing into Bed


Susan Wheeler
From "The Split"


Poets in Person:
C.K. Williams