Ian Parks was born in 1959 in Mexborough, South Yorkshire where he still lives. His collections include Shell Island, Love Poems 1979-2009, The Landing Stage, and The Exile’s House. He received a Hawthornden Fellowship in 1991. His poems have appeared in Poetry Review, The Times Literary Supplement, Modern Poetry in Translation, The Independent on Sunday, The Observer, and Poetry (Chicago).
He was writer in residence at Gladstone’s Library in 2012 and Writing Fellow at De Montfort University, Leicester, from 2012-2014. He is the editor of Versions of the North: Contemporary Yorkshire Poetry. Citizens is published by Smokestack Books.
The best versions of these poems I’ve ever read. Louis de Bernieres
Cavafy’s versatile rhythms are almost impossible to replicate in English – but Ian Parks has an empathetic sensibility and a rare literary dexterity all his own. He is a true original as Cavafy was a true original: to see one refracted through the other is quite extraordinary.
Parks captures the measured, graceful voice and quiet humour on which so much of Cavafy’s poetry depends in a way that makes us feel we are reading it properly for the first time. This, you feel, is exactly what these poems would sound like if they had been written in English.
The Times Literary Supplement
The God Abandons Antony went through me like a sword.
Before us all our future days
stand like burning candles in a row:
bright, upright candles, glowing in the dark.
Behind us all our past days stand,
a line of burnt-out candles.
Smoke rises from the nearest few –
misshapen, twisted, guttering.
I close my eyes. I don’t want to see
how soon they lose their light.
Instead I look in front of me.
I’m terrified of looking back.
If I look back I know
I’ll see how far that line extends,
how fast that line of cold, dead candles grows.
Body, Remember (published 2019)
Parks proves that he is more than up to the task: the language is evocative and the image lives.
Poetry Book Society Bulletin
Ian Parks has done something remarkable. These are not merely slavish literal translations but spirited reinventions of the originals. Parks has a sensibility which is perfectly attuned to the poet he gives voice to here. Cavafy’s undoubted lyric gift finds full expression in these exquisite versions.
Cavafy is rendered into crystal clear English by Ian Parks. I love what he has done: an accurately-written icon that takes us to a new spiritual dimension.
Victoria Field, New Walk Magazine