However, Garner deflated my enthusiasm, finding that Sarah Arvio's translations dissipate Lorca's magic.
While Arvio's "Poet in Spain" gives new renderings of Lorca's "Gypsy Ballads," a major Spanish work, the book omits "Poet in New York," the incandescent collection for which the martyred poet is best known in the United States. The lack of the New York poems is a major shortcoming, Garner says.
"The absence of these vital poems immediately renders Arvio's book less necessary than Maurer's in terms of seeing this complicated poet whole," Garner says, referring to Christopher Maurer's "Collected Poems, A Bilingual Edition," published in 1991 and the work of several translators.
While Garner tries to praise Arvio, he concludes that her translations lack precision and power. Garner says that Arvio's decision to avoid punctuation brings more misfires than gains.
While Maurer's collection remains the standard, a new, powerful translation of the New York poems would catch fire.
(Photo by New York Times)