Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0000447, Fri, 27 Jan 1995 19:58:39 -0800

Re: A Few Questions (fwd)
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 27 Jan 1995 14:09:02 EST
From: EJUSERS <EJNICOL@root.indstate.edu>
To: NABOKV-L@UCSBVM.ucsb.edu
Subject: Re: A Few Questions (fwd)

Re the poetry half of the question:

Nabokov gave Lowell's poetry several compliments in *Strong
Opinions*. Nabokov did hold Mandelshtam in high regard, but his
complaints about Lowell's incompetent translations also extends to
the translations from the French symbolists; Lowell and Auden make up
the portmanteau "Lowden" in *Ada* because they are both good poets
who should not have "transfigured" other poets from other languages.
I do not recall anything about Ginsburg in particular, but
Nabokov seems to have disapproved of their poetry's apparent
formlessness and drug-inspired babble.
The "confessional" school includes not only some of the Beats--
especially Ginsburg--but also the Lowell of *Life Studies* (inspired
by his annoyance at Ginsburg's success and lack of technique) and
after, as well as Berryman and Plath. As I said above, Nabokov
respected Lowell as a poet, and, of course, he didn't take the notion
of "schools" seriously.
--Charles Nicol