Pavasara virpulis / Springtime Circling

The bilingual Velvet Series represents Edward Estlin Cummings (1894—1962), one of the most remarkable American poets of the 20th century.

Until present, the Latvian reader has known the outstanding American poet’s works in translations by Jānis Krēsliņš (senior), Aina Kraujiete, Aivars Maizītis, Viks (Viktors Kalniņš), Kristaps Vecgrāvis and Ingmāra Balode. Many of them are included in this book. A number of new translations have been done by Vecgrāvis, Balode and Jānis Elsbergs exclusively for this selection; it should also be noted that Viks translated anew all his earlier versions. Translations by several authors in different eras display a variety of approaches to translation, distinct poetry translation traditions and abilities. 

The translations were chosen so as to reveal the great poet’s oeuvre as diversely as possible. This collection is based on the 1994 Liveright edition of "E. E. Cummings Complete Poems, 1904—1962", edited by George James Firmage which is considered the most authoritative, complete collection of his works: only one previously unknown Cummings’s poem has been found after its publication.

Because of his innovative approach to poetry, Cummings has been called “l’enfant terrible of English Letters”; Ezra Pound, his contemporary, praised Edward as the “only creative poet” of the time (in 1939). Both judgements are equally accurate in their own right: Cummings’s lyrical scope varies from irony to extremely refined love poetry; he is essentially a humanistic love poet who is deeply aware of the brevity and tragedy of human life.

Ingmāra Balode, Kristaps Vecgrāvis