Highlights From Our Newest Poetry - January 18, 2019
Robert the Devil, trans. by Samuel N. Rosenberg
Page one of this poem started “Now hear this, young and old: / Once there was, in days gone by, / A noble duke in Normandy.” By page two, his wife was childless and crying, “God, you must hate me … Satan … help me, I pray!”
It won’t surprise you to hear that the son they end up with is the titular Robert the Devil. I’d never heard of it before – apparently this is the first modern English translation of the 13th-century Robert le Diable. The plot moves forward quickly, the language is nice and clear, and I’m definitely looking forward to reading the rest of it; sometimes, in a world where almost all poetry published is lyric, it’s nice to go back to a good old narrative poem.