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less the same level, then doing a PhD in Hölderlin. And I started translating at university myself, just to get closer to some texts. structo: For a deeper understanding? constantine: Yeah, I thought of it as close reading. The closest form of close reading. I had a very close friend at Cambridge who was brought up in the English School there, in the I.A. Richards practical criticism close reading kind of stuff, where you don’t know the author and you don’t know the date, you just look at the text. Translation works rather like that. structo: You write a huge variety of poetry, as well as translations, and short stories. And you mentioned The Literary Agenda? constantine: The Literary Agenda was by no means my idea. The Oxford University Press are doing a series called The Literary Agenda, and my friend and editor Phil Davis, who was professor of English at Liverpool – I can’t remember his current title – he is vastly interested in what reading does to the brain [more about this shortly – Ed.]. His wife is Jane Davis, who used to edit the magazine The Reader. Phil does now. And she set up this organisation called Getting Into Reading, which is founded on the belief that reading helps. She works with groups from battered wives’ homes and psychiatric hospitals, and gets big commissions from the nhs, because it is a proven fact that if you get people sitting around a table who have never spoken properly, never mind read aloud, it’s enormously liberating in some ways. So that’s what Phil’s interested in, and he then is the general editor of this series called The Literary Agenda and I’ve just finished – it’s coming out in November – the poetry one. It’s kind of a polemical series because of the wretched state of the humanities in British universities and in British culture. It’s a sort of fight-back to assert the value of what it is that literature offers – an entirely different way of being in the world, and thinking. And it’s getting shoved right out to the periphery and into extinction. It’s increasingly not recognised as a value. We always have this trouble with the Arts Council, they were very good to us, but you can see the way it’s gone because in all speeches about the arts, it’s all about how much money you make; what contribution you make to the economy. Obviously if you’re the Royal Ballet, then doubtless you do make a bob or two, but there’s absolutely no way that poetry all together, or Modern Poetry in Translation in particular, could ever actually want to… well, we want to survive, as you do, but…

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Profile for Structo Magazine

Structo issue 10  

Our tenth issue features—by accident, honestly—ten short stories, ten poems, two interviews (author Evie Wyld and poet/translator/author/edi...

Structo issue 10  

Our tenth issue features—by accident, honestly—ten short stories, ten poems, two interviews (author Evie Wyld and poet/translator/author/edi...

Profile for structo
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