Sunday, January 12, 2020

Neruda Translation Available on Amazon!!!

Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair


I just published my translation of Pablo Neruda's Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair! It is now available in paperback from Amazon (the e-book is coming soon, hopefully within 48 hours). I wrote this translation back in 2011, but I couldn't publish it until now because the original book was still under copyright. Now that it is officially in the public domain, I have published my translation! The beautiful cover was done by my brother, Nick Harris. Take a look if you are a fan of Pablo Neruda, or love poetry, or even if you are looking for a Valentine's Day gift.

Here is the blurb from the product description: Published in 1924, when Pablo Neruda was only twenty years old, this striking collection of love poems has proven to be the Nobel Laureate's most popular work. The sensual imagery and heartbreaking verse have inspired lovers and lovers of poetry for nearly a century. This translation by J. Simon Harris captures the fire of the original and stays true to the poetry. This edition includes the original Spanish text of the poems on facing pages, as well as an introduction to the poet and the poems.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Sonnets for Ashley Faye: Sonnet 3

This sonnet has been published online by the Society of Classical Poets. It follows in the footsteps of one of my favorite traditions: writing about the inability to write about something. In this case, the ineffable "something" is a perfect moment one early morning in the Spring after our son, Luke, was born.


How can I write you anything, my love?
How can I write your smile in fourteen lines?
A hundred thousand lines are not enough,
much less to write the splendor of your mind.

How can I write the way I felt today,
when I awoke before the morning sun,
and in the bedside lamplight, there you lay,
smiling, watching me sleep, nursing our son?

How can I write the way your hair appeared,
red in the lamplight, fallen on the bed?
Or how your voice fell softly on my ears
like angels singing everything you said?

How can I write a sonnet true enough
for even one true moment of my love?


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Sonnets for Ashley Faye: Sonnet 2

This sonnet has been published online by the Society of Classical Poets. I wrote it after one of our annual visits to her grandmother's farm in upstate NY.


Last year, we watched a million fireflies
at Grandma Bartlett’s farm, twinkling in the trees
as if reflecting all the billion stars
against the treetops rippling in the breeze.

My memory is dim, but in the dark
I think we reached to hold each other’s hand;
and in the moonlight, warmed each other’s heart;
and let out sighs across the glowing land.

That night, I saw my future in the swarms
of swirling lights: the dancing of those wraiths
revealed a thousand fears, a hundred harms,
and yet a hundred hopes, a thousand faiths;

and in the dance, I seemed to see your smile—
love of my life, and mother of my child.


Saturday, September 22, 2018

Sonnets for Ashley Faye: Sonnet 1

This sonnet has been published online by the Society of Classical Poets. It was the first sonnet I ever wrote for my wife, Ashley Faye Harris.


I’ve awed at the Atlantic’s bluest depths,
and peered at the Pacific’s deepest blues;
the warm blue summer waters of Key West,
and cold blue winter on the Charles, too.

I’ve watched the moon rise up above the Thames,
the stars upon a Minnesota lake;
I’ve seen the morning sun reflected in
the misty sweep of San Francisco Bay.

But nowhere in the world have I seen blue,
and nowhere have I seen the shimmering sky,
come close to matching what I’ve seen in you
when something lights a smile in those blue eyes.

As if an ocean hides beneath your face,
as if a heaven shines behind your gaze.


Friday, September 21, 2018

Three sonnets published

Three of my sonnets have just been published online by the Society of Classical Poets! I wrote each of them for my wife, Ashley Faye Harris. I'm thrilled to share my feelings for Ashley with my readers, and I hope you will enjoy the poems. You can check them out now on the SCP website, and I will also post them here on the website over the next three days.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Translation of Sappho, Fragment 58, published

My translation of Sappho's Fragment 58 (otherwise known as the "Old Age" poem, or sometimes the "Tithonus" poem) has been published online by the Society of Classical Poets. I have added it to the website as well, in the new section for translations other than the Iliad and the Inferno.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Sonnet published

My sonnet, "Unrequited Love", was just published by the Society of Classical Poets. The sonnet begins like a traditional Italian love sonnet, but ends with an ironic twist. The scenario was inspired by a scene in Dante's Vita Nuova, in which Dante is staring at Beatrice but is thought to be staring at a woman in between them, whom he begins to call the "screen lady".