American poet and translator Cid (Sidney) Corman (1924-2004) is known for his prolific output in a variety of genres, including seventy volumes of poetry, over a dozen volumes of translations, particularly of Japanese poetry, and critical essays. He also founded and edited the literary journal Origin, which promoted little-known authors, including those of the Black Mountain School.
After receiving a B.A. from Tufts College in 1945, Corman did graduate work at the University of Michigan, where he won the Hopwood Award for poetry, and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1948, Corman returned to Boston, where he organized a series of poetry groups and broadcast a radio show called "This is Poetry." This program brought Corman into contact with several established poets, including John Crowe Ransom, Archibald MacLeish, Richard Wilbur, Theodore Roethke, and Marianne Moore. The latter introduced him to the writers' colony at Yaddo, where he met William Carlos Williams, who would become a strong influence in Corman's own poetry.
In 1951, Corman founded and edited the literary quarterly Origin, which published the work of new or little-known authors. The magazine printed works by several poets from the Black Mountain community, including Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, and Robert Duncan. In addition to promoting the works of many American poets, including Corman himself, Origin published several poems in translation. The magazine would eventually go through five series, the last ending in 1986.
In 1954-55, Corman received a Fulbright fellowship to study at the Sorbonne. The next year, he taught in Italy, and began publishing volumes of poetry under the Origin Press imprint. From 1958-1966, Corman taught in Kyoto, Japan, at Kyoto Joshidai, Ryukoto University, and Doshisha University.
Corman has published over seventy volumes of poetry, beginning with A Thanksgiving Eclogue from Theocritus (1954), and including Sun Rock Man (1962), Livingdying (1970), Of, Vol. I-II (1990), Of: Volume Three (1998), and Nothing / Doing (1999). He has also translated several French and Japanese poems, including work by Bashõ, Kusano Shimpei, and Francis Ponge, and published four volumes of essays. His anthology, The Gist of Origin (1975) contains a brief history of the magazine and several excerpts from the first three series.
Coony, Seamus. "Cid Corman." Contemporary Poets, 6th edition. Ed. Thomas Riggs. New York: St. James Press, 1996.
Corman, Cid, ed. The Gist of Origin, 1951-1971: An Anthology. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1979.
Who's Who in Writers, Editors, and Poets, United States and Canada, 5th Edition. Highland Park, Il: December Press, 1996.
"Cid Corman." Contemporary Authors Online. Biography In Context. http://ic.galegroup.com/ (accessed June 11, 2013).
Although better known as a translator of Japanese poetry, Cid Corman translated these poems, and an essay, from Italian and French, respectively.
These typescripts of translations were originally laid in Corman’s copies of the three books in which each poem or essay appeared in its native language. Each of the books bears additional annotations or translations of various poems or essays in Corman's hand. These books have been cataloged for Special Collections.
Each folder includes the translations from one of the three books. F0944C includes Cid Corman's translations of five Italian poems, written by Paolo Volponi and published in his book of poetry, Le Porte dell’Appennino (1957). Each of the five poems, which includes "Muore La Giovinezza," "Cugina Volpe," "Le Catene D’Oro," "Il 2 Di Dicembre," and "La Ballata Della Neve," bears autograph revisions by Corman. Laid in the book with these translations was a clipping of a review of Le Porte dell’Appennino, which is included here.
These drafts provide examples of Cid Corman's work as a translator, how he crafted his translations, and demonstrate his interest in poetry and prose in other languages.
Corman's copies of La Prose du Monde, Epigrafi E Canti, and Le Porte dell’Appennino have been cataloged with imprints in Special Collections.