Blasing, Randy 1943–
Blasing, Randy 1943–
PERSONAL: Born July 27, 1943, in Minneapolis, MN; son of Alfred Charles (a businessman) and Mary (a bookkeeper; maiden name, Mathias) Blasing; married Mutlu Konuk (a professor and translator), August 21, 1965; children: John Konuk. Education: Carleton College, B.A., 1965; University of Chicago, M.A., 1966.
ADDRESSES: Home—44 Benefit St., Providence, RI 02904. Office—Department of English, Community College of Rhode Island, 400 East Ave., Warwick, RI 02886-1807; and Copper Beech Press, Box 1852, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912. E-mail—[email protected]
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.
AWARDS, HONORS: National Endowment for the Arts fellow, 1981; Ingram Merrill fellow, 1989.
Light Years: Poems, Persea (New York, NY), 1977.
To Continue: Poems, Persea (New York, NY), 1983.
The Particles: Poems, Copper Beech Press (Providence, RI), 1983.
The Double House of Life: Poems, Persea (New York, NY), 1989.
Graphic Scenes, Persea (New York, NY), 1994.
Second Home, Cooper Beech Press (Providence, RI), 2001.
TRANSLATOR; WITH WIFE, MUTLU KONUK BLASING
Nazim Hikmet, Things I Didn't Know I Loved: Selected Poems of Nazim Hikmet, Persea (New York, NY), 1975.
Nazim Hikmet, The Epic of Sheik Bedreddin and Other Poems, Persea (New York, NY), 1977.
Nazim Hikmet, Human Landscapes, Persea (New York, NY), 1982, published as Human Landscapes from My Country: An Epic Novel in Verse, 2002.
Nazim Hikmet, Rubaiyat, Copper Beech Press (Providence, RI), 1985.
Nazim Hikmet, Selected Poetry, Persea (New York, NY), 1986.
Nazim Hikmet, Poems of Nazim Hikmet, Persea (New York, NY), 1994 revised and expanded 2nd edition, 2002
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–.
SIDELIGHTS: Randy Blasing is known both as a poet in his own right and as 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 Turkish native. 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 Bircan Unver for 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 have 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. Reviewing the couple's translation of Poems of Nazim Hikmet, 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's own verse was praised by Pat Monaghan in a Booklist evaluation of Graphic Scenes. Monaghan applauded the poet's precise, controlled work, and stated that this volume revealed "a mature talent with a firm sense of craft." A Publishers Weekly reviewer called the same volume "a tender venture into the art of remembering."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
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.
Light Millennium, http://www.lightmillennium.org/ (January 2, 2005), Bircan Unver, interview with Randy Blasing.