I’m pleased to share with readers that Hackett Publishing Company, publisher of the best available translation of Beowulf, has proposed a contract to publish my translation of the Poetic Edda.

The Poetic Edda is a collection of Old Norse poems, mostly narratives that relate myths of the Norse gods (Odin, Thor, Loki, etc.) and legendary heroes (Helgi, Sigurd, Hogni, etc.).

There are many translations of the Poetic Edda into English, but none has yet been done in a truly readable, contemporary style. While there are people who enjoy reading and writing the kind of old-fashioned English where somebody “rides a charger” (or even “rideth a charger”), I find it much less distracting to read about somebody who “rides a horse” and this is how I have written my translations as well. I follow the motto that “It’s not really a translation if you need a dictionary to read it.”

As far as style, my translations are written in unrhyming but rhythmic English verse that I think falls naturally on the ear. I have tried to follow the example of my own favorite poets, writers like Robinson Jeffers, David Mason, and Olav H. Hauge.

I should note that my translation of the Poetic Edda is not done in the style of the Cowboy Hávamál, which is a stand-alone translation of (part of) one of the poems of the Poetic Edda. That is to say, I have written in standard English rather than in dialect, but the spirit of the Cowboy Hávamál is still there, guiding me toward clear storytelling at the expense of the type of elaborate writing style that has so far obscured what these poems say for the English-reading public.


About these ads