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Michael Hamburger (22 March 1924 – 7 June 2007) was a German-born British translator and poet. He came to Britain in 1933 as a refugee from Nazism.
Born: March 22nd, 1924
Died: June 7th, 2007
Quotes: 8 sourced quotes total (includes 2 about)
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* Obituary in The Guardian
Being pre-eminently a moralist, he needed a medium that enabled him to illustrate a moral insight as briefly and vividly as possible. Being an artist and sensualist, he needed a medium that was epigrammatic or aphoristic, but allowed him scope for fantasy and for that element of suggestiveness which he considered essential to beauty.
Translation came naturally to me because as a child I was translated from Germany to Britain.
It is impossible for a poet to characterize his own work. From other people I gather that I am a gloomy poet, if not a tragic one.
He was out of tune with what a younger generation of poets were writing, and railed against the shallowness and commercialisation of the modern world, from his fastness: a farmhouse surrounded by orchards in Middleton, Suffolk.
The ploughman ploughs, the fisherman dreams of fish; Aloft, the sailor, through a world of ropes Guides tangled meditations, feverish With memories of girls forsaken, hopes Of brief reunions, new discoveries, Past rum consumed, rum promised, rum potential.
I suppose that I am a very serious poet – except for satirical verse, which I have also been compelled to write, though much of it may be inferior to my more serious poems – perhaps because I am not playful enough by nature, and even my satirical or polemical verse is not entertaining.
I was invited to Romania at least once, but was warned that I should not be free to travel where I pleased in the country, but should be more or less confined to the Writers' Union. Because I ceased long ago to be an urban poet and feel claustrophobic in literary conferences, I could not accept such an invitation.