The hunt over; the kill complete / limping towards perfection, padding / about the room, thorns in her thumbs / Hermes crawling on all fours — / That was the last I saw of Hilda. What is it to remember a life, to relive it, to mythologize it? Things that were said or not said haunt us for a lifetime. In Translating Air Kath MacLean imagines conversations between the modernist poet H.D. and Sigmund Freud during the poet's sessions with him in 1933 to 1934 and the dialogues that continued long afterwards in H.D.'s own mind. Shadowed by uncertainty and memory lapses or blinded by flashes of profound truth, readers are transported to a world of myth, continuity, and human connection. H.D.'s palimpsest account of herself as girl and woman, writer and Imagist, and psychic and spiritualist is engaging and elastic as it pulls readers into a space where time is both endless and sure. Questioning her sanity and a world gone mad with war, H.D.'s personal accounts help us understand what it means to love deeply, to feel passionately, and to think beyond the limits of our individual consciousness. MacLean demystifies and humanizes one of the most misunderstood modernist writers in this stunning collection. Translating Air takes us on a remarkable journey into the known and unknown and allows readers to experience one remarkable woman's struggle to get it right, to live life with dignity, hope, wisdom, and the courage to have no regrets.
Kath MacLean is a multi-media artist and author of two books of poetry, For a Cappuccino on Bloor and Kat among the Tigers. She lives in Toronto.
"Translating Air is sensuous, brainy, incredibly smart writing. Kath MacLean's encounters with the poet H.D. navigate modernism's complex waters — its mythic undercurrents, "spinning bones," and a world ravaged by war — creating a poetic palimpsest at once lush and visceral. MacLean's erudition never gets in the way of her lyric ear and powerhouse-voice battened down by iconic images: roses, blood, amber, light. Apocalyptic. Glorious.? Jeanette Lynes, Author of Bedlam Cowslip: The John Clare Poems
"Kath MacLean's new poetry collection, Translating Air, is a deeply haunting engagement with the life, mind, and work of H.D., extraordinary poet and novelist, and friend to Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, D.H. Lawrence and many other modern writers.
"In Translating Air, Kath MacLean dreams Hilda Doolittle dreaming HD's hidden dreams of childhood, young love, wars poetical & political, and her always changing sense of how her long life fits into it all. This hitherto hidden dream diary 'reads' a viole
"In Translating Air Kath MacLean brings the great poet H.D. so close we can almost touch her as she recovers memories and dreams of her youthful romance with Ezra Pound and her later friendship with him, as well as her own growth toward becoming a writer