Autumn Day


This translation was published in Perceptions Literary Magazine, which was not online at the time.

By Rainer Maria Rilke (Herbsttag)
Trans. Curt Hopkins

Lord, it is time. The summer was enormous.
Lay your shadows down upon the sundials,
And cast loose the winds upon the meadows.

Command the last remaining fruits to ripen,
Give them just two more southerly days,
Press them toward their resolution, chase
The last sweetness into the strong wine.

Anyone who has no house now will not build one,
Anyone alone will remain alone for a long time,
Shall watch and read and write long letters
And will wander aimlessly down the lanes
In vague disquiet when the leaves fall.


Photo via Wikimedia

My Latest Poetry Publications


Three more of my poems have recently been published. This last year I’ve been on something of a roll, it feels like.

A New Jerusalem. Rhythm, a well-regarded Canadian magazine devoted to metrical verse, was good enough to publish this sonnet of mine.

Return of American Monster. (page 39) A poem I wrote at and about the end of my long European journey has been published in the Alaska-based online magazine Cirque, an innovative online publication that is really easy to read and very sharp. It must look great on an e-reader or iPad.

Autumn Day. My translation of Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem, “Herbsttag” has been published by the Oregon literary magazine Perceptions. The handsome book is a broad, white vellum-feeling publication with a cut-out cover. There is no online version of the magazine, so I will post the poem on my blog when a reasonable amount of time has passed.

A Hawaiʻian Sonnet

Photo courtesy of Terry Reis – Surf Shooter Hawaii

My lungs rebel against the burning cane
As lightning splits the power pole across
The field. Oahu starts to steam with rain,
A silver ship, all wrapped in moonlit floss.
My father walks its deck, the sailor’s gait
That keeps him steady on the rolling ocean
Does precious little to keep his heart from breaking
Looking down at me, his ailing son,
A little boy, as fragile as a kitten,
Whose storms cannot be ridden like the sea.
No hero’s worth of courage makes a difference,
He cannot battle what he cannot see.
Then suddenly my labored breathing eases,
The latest storm to hit Hawaiʻi ceases.

Published in the Bakersfield, CA, sonnet magazine, SPSM&H, in 2003.

My Poems in 3:AM

The Paris- and London-based magazine 3:AM recently published three of my poems. They were “October,” a sonnet about my friend Jon Easley, “In Liguria” and “What Is Existence.”

You can read my poems in 3:AM here, as well as poetry, essays and interviews by and about people scattered around the globe.

My Translation in “Poetry As An Act of History”


Yale Professor Maria Rosa Menocal delivered a lecture at St. Mary’s College. This lecture, which focused on Cervantes, was subsequently turned into a monograph, which was recently published. Menocal, the author of “The Ornament of the World,” is an expert on the interplay of cultures and religions in medieval Spain. I’m a huge fan of “Ornament.”

I loved the essay, which used Cervantes to talk about the interdependencies of culture in the Iberian peninsula and, by association, the world. I loved it even more, I confess, because she used my translation of Federico Garcia Lorca’s poem “La guitarra” (from the “Poema de la Siguiriya Gitana” in his “Poema del Cante Jondo“).

The essay is, unfortunately, not available online. I hope they post it eventually.

“Denying Julian” Published on the Cavafy Forum


My essay on the Constantine P. Cavafy’s Julian the Apostate poems has been published on the University of Michigan’s Cavafy Forum online journal.

Cavafy is a Greek Alexandrian modernist who worked around the turn of the 20th century. The Julian poems are a series of historical poems about the last pagan emperor of Rome.

My contention is, basically, that in denying Julian, Cavafy is embracing himself, the real Cavafy, with all his trials and shortcomings, rather than electing to live in an imaginary past, however attractive.

Considering the fact that I once wrote a poem, “Reading Cavafy,” about how I’d never revisit the historical poems, writing the essay was as much of a surprise as actually placing it.

The University of Michigan’s Modern Greek Studies department’s Cavafy Forum is here. Directly download a .pdf of Denying Julian here.