Prisoners of Transience (trans.)
At the centre of Prisoners of Transience are the translations of seven German poets writing during the Thirty Years War, a period now much neglected. The general violence and desolation are portrayed as vividly in the poetry of that time as in its visual art.
The fragility and uncertainty of life provoked a variety of responses in poets like Andreas Gryphius, Friedrich von Logau, Paul Fleming and Catharina von Greiffenberg, Sheenagh Pugh skilfully captures not just the despair in Gryphius, but the intense religious response of von Greiffenberg and the lighter escapism of von Hofmannswaldau.
These seven poets are accompanied by others from Mediaeval times, such as Catherine de Pisan and Charles d’Orleans, and from the nineteenth century, in Theodor Storm and Stefan George. The translator is comfortably at home within all these periods in a collection informed by the wryness, precision, feeling and wit which mark her own poetry .