About Me

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Mark Olival-Bartley studied applied linguistics at Hawaii Pacific University, attaining B.A. and M.A. degrees in Teaching English as a Second Language, and poetry at the City College of New York. He is now writing a dissertation on the sonnets of E. A. Robinson at LMU, where he tutors composition alongside editing flyers on poetry and style. His poems and translations have appeared in journals on both sides of the Atlantic. He is the resident poet at EcoHealth, where his science-themed verse is regularly featured, and a senior copyeditor at Review of International American Studies. He also teaches at Münchner Volkshochschule and leads the Amerikahaus Literaturkreis.


Portrait of My Father as a Young Man

by Rainer Maria Rilke,
translated by Mark Olival-Bartley

In the eyes, dreams.  The brow as though in touch
with something far off.  Around the mouth, great
youth and a seducer's frown, or some such;
and the lacing in full dress over much
of the form adds an imperial state
about the scabbard, which both hands hold sway
with a quiet waiting and an unrest 
that is almost unseen now as if, say,
they, too, would vanish to a distant land
and, imposing themselves on all the rest,
flame out for reasons we can't understand.
From such deep despair comes a depth made ripe.

How fast your fading is, daguerreotype,
held in my somewhat slower fading hand.

Jugend-Bildnis meines Vaters

von Rainer Maria Rilke

Im Auge Traum. Die Stirn wie in Berührung
mit etwas Fernem. Um den Mund enorm
viel Jugend, ungelächelte Verführung,
und vor der vollen schmückenden Verschnürung
der schlanken adeligen Uniform
der Säbelkorb und beide Hände –, die
abwarten, ruhig, zu nichts hingedrängt.
Und nun fast nicht mehr sichtbar: als ob sie
zuerst, die Fernes greifenden, verschwänden.
Und alles andere mit sich selbst verhängt
und ausgelöscht als ob wirs nicht verständen
und tief aus eigener Tiefe trüb –.

Du schnell vergehendes Daguerreotyp
in meinen langsamer vergehenden Händen.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

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