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Langston Hughes to Paul Blackburn

(p.53) 3 Poet-Translators
Apocryphal Lorca
Jonathan Mayhew
University of Chicago Press

Poet-translators have played a key role in the creation of the American Lorca. This chapter examines the strategies of domestication seen in a few paradigmatic cases. It begins with Langston Hughes's Gypsy Ballads, which he began to work on in Madrid during the Spanish civil war and published in 1951. The two translations that generated the most enthusiasm for Lorca in this decade were both published in 1955: The Selected Poems of Federico García Lorca, a compendium of translations by various hands, and Ben Belitt's The Poet in New York. Paul Blackburn's Lorca/Blackburn did not have the historical impact of these other translations, since it was published posthumously in 1979. Blackburn's translation, however, was produced during the pivotal period of American Lorquismo and throws into relief some key issues about the practice of translation at midcentury.

Keywords:   poet-translators, Federico García Lorca, American poets, Langston Hughes, Ben Belitt, Paul Blackburn, American Lorquismo

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