David Ferry, one of this year’s featured poet at the May 2-4 Massachusetts Poetry Festival, is both poet and translator, and in both areas his work is acclaimed as of major importance. As a poet he is praised for his vision, his craft, his modesty, his fly-by urbanity, his simplicity, and a dozen other adjectives that come to other poets when confronted by someone of Ferry’s unassuming brilliance. His translations of Gilgamesh, of Virgil and of Horace are considered standards in giving life to these honored classics.
In 2012, when Ferry won the National Book Award for Bewilderment, the reviews were admiring and ardent. In an essay in The New Yorker Dan Chaisson said of the book “This is one of the great books of poetry of this young century.” W.S. Merwin described Ferry’s work as having an “assured quiet tone” that communicates “complexities of feeling with unfailing proportion and grace.” [Read more...]