The Jonas Variations: A Literary Séance is a one-of-a-kind collection: free translations, imitations, variations, reverberations, and refutations of poems in other languages that inspired its author—poet, writer and journalist George Jonas—to words in English.
The poets span centuries; the languages include Latin, Arabic, French, German, Hungarian, Russian, and Spanish. A thumbnail portrait of each poet in the context of his times precedes Jonas’s versions and re-visionings: poets as well known as Catullus, Dante, Baudelaire, Verlaine, Heine, and Rilke rub shoulders with names much less familiar to most readers. Jonas conjures up the spirits of his poets, dialogues with them, and in doing so gives them new life. This romp through multilingual literary history is at once a very personal project and an inspiring example of oneman’s lifetime engagement with poetry.