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Robert Hass

Robert Hass

Three Questions

The poet discusses his home, his inspiration, and his study habits. 
by Heather Scott Partington
 
March 31, 2020
What is your favorite place in the West?
My home country is the San Francisco Bay Area and the Sierra Nevada.

How has your translation work affected the poems you create?
From the beginning. The language of the Old and New Testaments that has filled my ears since childhood is an English translation of Hebrew and Greek texts. Our political language in the West is full of translated phrases from Latin and Greek. The word poetry is a translation from the Greek. But more specifically, for me, translation that I’ve done myself is a form of close study, and close study gets the work of others under your skin in ways that make it impossible to know exactly how it’s affected you.

Who influenced your work most significantly?
Probably the Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz. For the way he kept testing and pushing what his poems could do.

Written: Thursday April 23rd, 10:36am 2020