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As the resident poet at EcoHealth, my verse finds inspiration these days in the spectre of global pandemics. At LMU Munich's Amerika-Institut, where I tutor composition and poetics, I'm anatomizing the sonnets of E. A. Robinson for my dissertation. I also teach at M√ľnchner Volkshochschule and Amerikahaus.

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"We're Few, Perhaps Three"


by Boris Pasternak
Translated by Babette Deutsch

We're few, perhaps three, hellish fellows
Who hail from the flaming Donetz,
With a fluid gray bark for our cover
Made of rain-clouds and soldiers' soviets
And verses and endless debates
About art or it may be freight rates.

We used to be people.  We're epochs.
Pell-mell we rush caravanwise
As the tundra to groans of the tender
And tension of pistons and ties.
Together we'll rip through your prose,
We'll whirl, a tornado of crows,

And be off!  But you'll not understand it
Till late.  So the wind in the dawn
Hits the thatch on the roof--for a moment--
But puts immortality on
At trees' stormy sessions, in speech
Of boughs the roof's shingles can't reach.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

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