Recently browsing the New Direction’s author list, I saw a title by Nathanial Tarn, The Hölderliniae.
There is deep image density in Hölderlin’s poetry, the meter unregulated, and no particular dedication to rhyme; his syntactic playfulness upsets expectation when reading. I quote Tarn:
It took a hundred years for Hölderlin to be recognized not only as a great, perhaps the greatest German poet but as the First Modern Poet to many cultures in the twentieth century and beyond.
— The Hölderliniae, Introduction p. 11
Mid-1980s translations by Sieburth and mid-1990s by Constantine are getting some attention. A former professor of mine, Christopher Middleton, put his considerable poetic talents to the task. Tarn notes that his own translations in his book are insignificant to Christopher Middleton’s. Looking specifically at Middleton’s version of Hyperions Schiksaalslied prompted me to attempt a different version. I provide a side-by-side: