Founded in 1968 by Peter Jay and now based in Greenwich, south-east London, Anvil Press is England’s longest-standing independent poetry publisher.
We specialize in contemporary English poets – with a leavening of Irish and American – and in a range of translated poetry, from ancient classics to modern and contemporary poets.
Daniel Weissbort, poet, translator, editor and critic, died on 17 November 2013
Daniel Weissbort, poet, translator, editor and critic, died on 17 November 2013. He had been suffering from Alzheimer's and lived in care at Nightingale House in South London for the last two years. He was a long-time personal friend and friend of Anvil.
His association with Ted Hughes in founding and editing Modern Poetry in Translation is well known. Indeed the influential nature of that journal tended to overshadow his own accomplishments as a poet and translator of, notably, Nikolai Zabolotsky, and his contributions to translation studies in several books. He and his wife Valentina Polukhina, a Brodsky specialist, edited and translated An Anthology of Contemporary Russian Women Poets (2005). His own creative disagreements with Joseph Brodsky gave rise to From Russian with Love (2004), a remarkable personal account of the translator's strategies, problems and dilemmas as well as a tribute to Brodsky and his poetry. This was published by Anvil, as was his memorable anthology The Poetry of Survival (1991) and two collections of his poems.
Daniel Weissbort Five poems
To be a fool is also to be human.
Being human, you cannot but be a fool.
Yet who is to judge us, fools?
Who is to console us? Fools,
had you been otherwise
you’d not have been human.
God, least of all.
God remains on the sidelines.
God is judgment reserved.
God is that suspendedness
we sometimes call reality.
Fools! What fools!
Not that we did not possess the knowledge.
But our foolishness was stronger still,
and then it was too late.
It has always been too late for us Moseses,
though the Promised Land
is one we’d not have wished to enter anyway –
a land lit by a fearful dawn,
We, fools, in the last moment
You Lie Down to Sleep
You lie down to sleep
with no one to kiss you goodnight
and within moments to abandon you there.
You lie on your side, one leg flung
across the entire width of the bed,
in the certainty that sleep is near.
You savor this certainty
like sweet, fresh water,
like being received in your saviour’s arms.
What of Dreams?
What of dreams? In the bewilderment
of waking, of looking around,
they deflate fast.
Where are you? I’m looking around.
England, America? If it’s not one
it has to be the other.
And now the body makes its presence felt,
in case you’ve been wondering
or hoping –
the body, that bad news
there’s no closing your ears to,
’least not in this life.
A flock of birds, starlings or grackles,
a flock of crosses, like a skewed cemetery,
tilting, slithering, as if a hand rocked it.
Then they are drawn back into the trees.
Bare branches, dark with sentinels.
I stop for a moment and the air shudders with their rising.
If instead they were to mount an attack
in moments they’d strip me to the bone.
Too much like voices
that interrupt my reverie,
too much like talk,
I keep flicking my eyes open
to make sure it’s not people passing.
I cannot rest. The waves –
too much like garrulous people.
From What Was All the Fuss About? by Daniel Weissbort