Issue number forty-three of The Malahat Review includes four poets in translation, a play by Robert Graves (1895—1985), three poems by Marilyn Bowering, and a showcase of the paintings and drawings of William Featherston (1927—2009).
Evelyn Robson and John Montague translate eight poems by the French poet Andre Frenaud (1907—1993), which exhibit motifs of death and memory. Desmond O’Grady provides a background to nineteenth-century Italy, preceding five sonnets by Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli (1791—1863). In Ondra Lysohorsky’s (1905—1989) poetry, translated by Hugh McKinley, language itself becomes political for a Czech poet writing in Lachian. The final number of translated works falls to Ho Chi Minh (1890—1969). Ian McLachlan recounts Ho Chi Minh’s intricate prison poems, composed after he was arrested on his journey from Vietnam.
Three poems by Marilyn Bowering illustrate the moving, early work of a now-established Canadian poet. “Winter Harbour” unfolds a place “where your past cannot find you”; in “North Coast Lament” the figure of a fisherman is “drinking all the time”; and finally, in “Animals are Surplus”, “all the wild animals / are in town.”
Indeed, through the translations and works of both local and international poets, Issue 43 produces a literary conversation, across language, that continues to this day (Issue 188).
—Stephen E. Leckie