The Hymn of the Pearl & An Interview on Kenogaia
A Narrative Poem & A Conversation
Since Kenogaia was published, I have been asked by several readers which translation of The Hymn of the Pearl I quote at the beginning of each of the book’s eight parts. As it happens, it is a version I wrote in 1992 one long afternoon while waiting for a friend whose flight had been ridiculously delayed. I had for some time thought of turning the hymn into narrative verse of a distinctly Victorian or Edwardian kind, simply as an entertainment for the child I did not yet have, and I just then happened to have the text of The Acts of Thomas with me in my briefcase. I make no claims for the finished (or unfinished) product as poetry. Since the imagery was dictated by the original text, moreover, I myself have only a vague sense of what some of it means; and, were I to devote real attention to it, the verse could be considerably improved. But it works in the context of the novel.
Anyway, simply out of the superabundant generosity of my kindly heart, I set aside my qualms regarding the poem’s artistic merits and here supply it in its entirety, for those several readers who have asked to see it. It is now part of the record.
I also supply a link to an interview I sat on Kenogaia with a pair of extremely polite interlocutors, here and below.
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