Randy Blasing

b. 1943
Poet and translator Randy Blasing was educated at Carleton College and the University of Chicago. He has published numerous volumes of poetry, including Light Years (1977), Graphic Scenes (1994), Second Home (2001), and Choice Words: Poems 1970-2005 (2007). Blasing’s poetry has been praised for its precision and control. Pat Monaghan in Booklist applauded Blasing as “a mature talent with a firm sense of craft.” A poet in his own right, Blasing is also a translator of the works of Nazim Hikmet, one of the great modern Turkish poets. Hikmet revolutionized Turkish poetry by introducing free verse and modern poetic techniques, and combining these with traditional and folk styles. He was also jailed and eventually exiled for his leftist political beliefs and his work for social justice. Blasing’s translations are done in collaboration with his wife, Mutlu Konuk, a native of Turkey and a scholar who has taught at Pomona College and Brown University, and published critical studies on American poetry..
 
The couple first discovered Hikmet’s work after their honeymoon in Turkey. Upon returning to the United States, Blasing began researching Turkish poets and found a volume of Hikmet’s work in French translation. Both Blasing and Konuk enjoy “his fresh imagery and spirited tone,” as Blasing remembered in an interview with Light Millenium. “I wanted to translate him to see what he was saying, my French being only adequate, and Mutlu wanted to see what he would sound like in English.”

The couple has gone on to publish numerous volumes of Hikmet’s poetry in translation, as well as his Human Landscapes from My Country: An Epic Novel in Verse (2009). Reviewing the couple’s translation of Poems of Nazim Hikmet (2002), a Publishers Weekly writer stated that the poems “convey the power and originality of the work.” Hikmet’s dramatic Human Landscapes, begun while the poet was imprisoned, is a “masterpiece” and “a powerful read,” according to Keith Hitchins in World Literature Today. Hitchins added: “The translators have done full justice to the original.”
 
Blasing has received grants from the Ingram Merrill Foundation and a translation fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He is a professor of English at the Community College of Rhode Island.
 

Career

Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, VA, instructor in English, 1966-67; College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA, instructor in English, 1967-69; Community College of Rhode Island, Lincoln, instructor, 1969-72, assistant professor, 1972-80, associate professor, 1980- 88, professor of English, 1988—. Lecturer at Pomona College, 1977- 79.

Bibliography

POETRY

  • Light Years: Poems, Persea (New York, NY), 1977.
  • To Continue: Poems, Persea, 1983.
  • The Particles: Poems, Copper Beech Press (Providence, RI), 1983.
  • The Double House of Life: Poems, Persea, 1989.
  • Graphic Scenes, Persea, 1994.
  • Second Home, Copper Beech Press, 2001.
  • Choice Words: Poems 1970-2005, Copper Beech Press, 2007.

TRANSLATOR; WITH MUTLU KONUK BLASING

  • Nazim Hikmet, Things I Didn’t Know I Loved: Selected Poems of Nazim Hikmet, Persea, 1975.
  • Nazim Hikmet, The Epic of Sheik Bedreddin and Other Poems, Persea, 1977.
  • Nazim Hikmet, Human Landscapes, Persea, 1982.
  • Nazim Hikmet, Rubaiyat, Copper Beech Press, 1985.
  • Nazim Hikmet, Selected Poetry, Persea, 1986.
  • Nazim Hikmet, Poems of Nazim Hikmet, Persea, 1994 revised and expanded 2nd edition, 2002.
  • Nazim Hikmet, Human Landscapes from My Country: An Epic Novel in Verse, Persea, 2009.

OTHER

  • Contributor of poems and translations to magazines, including American Poetry Review, Paris Review, World Literature Today, Virginia Quarterly Review, Southern Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Poetry. Editor of Copper Beech Press, 1983—.

Further Reading

PERIODICALS
  • Booklist, June 1, 1994, Pat Monaghan, review of Graphic Scenes,p. 1762.
  • Michigan Quarterly Review, spring, 1996, Lisa M. Steinman, review of Graphic Scenes,p. 399.
  • Publishers Weekly, March 28, 1994, review of Poems of Nazim Hikmet, p. 90; May 30, 1994, review of Graphic Scenes, p. 45; April 22, 2002, review of Human Landscapes from My Country: An Epic Novel in Verse,p. 50.
  • Review of Contemporary Fiction, spring, 2003, Michael Pinker, review of Human Landscapes from My Country,p. 142.
  • World Literature Today, October-December, 2003, Keith Hitchins, review of Human Landscapes from My Country, p. 78.
ONLINE
  • Light Millennium, http://www.lightmillennium.org/ (January 2, 2005), Bircan Unver, interview with Randy Blasing.

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LIFE SPAN 1943–

Biography

Poet and translator Randy Blasing was educated at Carleton College and the University of Chicago. He has published numerous volumes of poetry, including Light Years (1977), Graphic Scenes (1994), Second Home (2001), and Choice Words: Poems 1970-2005 (2007). Blasing’s poetry has been praised for its precision and control. Pat Monaghan in Booklist applauded Blasing as “a mature talent with a firm sense of craft.” A poet in his own . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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