Episode 7 – Donald Wellman

Donald Wellman has nine books of English-language poetry to his credit. He translates from several languages, German and French as well as Spanish. He is the English language translator of Antonio Gamoneda, Emilio Prados, and Roberto Echavarren. From German he has translated Yvan Goll’s Neila’s Evening Song: Last Poems of Yvan Goll; from French, Blaise Cendrars, The Prose of the Transsiberian and Little Joan of France. His academic expertise is in modern and contemporary poetry and poetics. His research and scholarship has concentrated on the works of Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, Charles Olson and on figures associated with Black Mountain College and with emerging avant-gardes (conceptual poetry and language-centered poetry). Additionally, he has written on transnational literature, including the literature and culture of the Caribbean. A study of translation practice, Albiach / Celan / Reading Across Languages is available from Annex, 2017.  His Expressivity in Modern Poetry is newly released from Fairleigh Dickinson UP, March 2019. Editing O.ARS, 1981-1993. Among the Neighbors, The Poetry Collection of the University Libraries, University at Buffalo is forthcoming.

His book of poetry include Fields (1995),a selection of twenty years previous work. In addition to a range of lyrics, Fields addresses themes related to childhood and youth in New Hampshire and Maine. It includes a “libretto” dedicated to labor history during the period of industrialization and establishment of the mills. An ethnographic bent characterizes much of his work, Baroque Threads and Prolog Pages were shaped from materials in the notebooks that were kept while living in Costa Rica, Mexico, and Spain. A North Atlantic Wall is drawn from pilgrimage experiences in Spain and Morocco, where he pursued portions of the Camino de Santiago and then continued to follow trails used by Albigensian refugees fleeing through the Pyrenees, at the conclusion of a 20-year crusade initiated by Pope Innocent III to eliminate Catharism. This soul journey concludes on the peaks of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. Working with a close ethnographic focus on the rural poor, Cranberry Island Series is a collection addressing life in the Gulf of Maine. Essays are interleaved with a sampling of poetry dating from as early as the  mid1970s, including poems of mourning for lost companions. Roman Exercises and Essay Poems were released in the last three years. These works are long serial poems, mixing prose and verse composition.

Wellman was born in Nashua, NH. He also identifies with Cranberry Island, Maine, his mother’s home. He graduated from Stuttgart American High School in Germany and the University of New Hampshire. After military service in Germany, he earned a Doctor of Arts from the University of Oregon. He now lives in Weare New Hampshire. He has two loving and precocious children, each an accomplished scholar and creative talent. He has just returned from residence in Madrid and visits to Istanbul and Morocco. The profile would seem  to be that of a wanderer, but he identifies deeply with each of the places that have shaped his life.


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