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George Kay’s Montale

In response to:

The Great Montale in English from the November 8, 2012 issue

To the Editors:

Though Jonathan Galassi mentions George Kay in passing as editor of the Penguin Book of Italian Verse, which served Robert Lowell as a trot for his Imitations, he neglects to mention Kay’s extensive verse translations of Eugenio Montale [“The Great Montale in English,” NYR, November 8]. First published in 1964 by Edinburgh University Press as Poesie/Poems in a strikingly designed bilingual edition, they were republished in 1969 as a Penguin Selected Poems. Kay, who benefited from Montale’s advice, intended his translations to be “faithful mirrors,” hoping “that they [would] pass the reader back to the originals.” In this he was largely successful, and the familiarity of British poets with Montale referred to by Galassi owes a lot to Kay.

John Stathatos
Kythera, Greece

Jonathan Galassi replies:

John Stathatos is right to remember George Kay’s careful, illuminating versions of Montale’s poetry.

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