Unless She Beckons: Poems of Dafydd ap Gwilym
Over the past two years, I have been collaborating with Portland poet Paul Merchant on a translation of a selection of the more vivid and engaging poems by the fourteenth-century Welsh poet Dafydd ap Gwilym. Despite the fact that Dafydd lived over seven hundred years ago, he is still generally acknowledged to be the finest poet writing in the Welsh language. His lifetime spans the generation between Dante and Chaucer, yet his poetry is no less complicated or innovative than that of his illustrious contemporaries. Bringing Occitan and French lyric traditions into productive friction with the works of Ovid and with native Welsh poetic and narrative traditions, Dafydd's poetry is in fact the earliest extant Welsh verse to scrutinize love with any sophistication or seriousness (though Dafydd, like Chaucer (and very unlike Dante), also retains a remarkably fine eye for humor and absurdity).
Our translation of Dafydd's poetry, entitled Unless She Beckons, is an attempt to convey some sense of the dazzling virtuosity of Dafydd's highly alliterative rhymed couplets, while still maintaining a sense of the tense energy and often shocking honesty of the originals.
The translation is scheduled to be published with Oregon's Redbat Press in spring of 2018.