Coffin is the author of over thirty books of poetry, fiction, drama, nonfiction, and translation. She has published fiction, poetry and non-fiction in over fifty quarterlies and small magazines, including Catholic Digest and Time magazine. One of her fictions, originally published in the Michigan Quarterly Review appeared in Best American Short Stories 1979, edited by Joyce Carol Oates.
The Knight In The Panther Skin
A translation of Shota Rustaveli's 12th Century Georgian Epic Poem into English, by the American poet and translator, Lyn Coffin.
"Lyn Coffin has achieved a miracle (like Stanley Mitchell's translation of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin, another hitherto 'impossible' project). Without writing artificial English, and with the skills of a professional poet, she has captured the extraordinary variety and passion of this epic, and moreover (with the help of Georgian scholars) she achieves an unprecedented accuracy."
PROFESSOR RAYFIELD ,
Queen Mary University
A Marriage Without Consummation
"A Marriage Without Consummation” is a book of poetry by two well-known authors and friends from opposite “sides” of the globe, the US and Georgia (the country). The poems are presented face en face, original work and translations. The book opens with Coffin’s “Look at the Stars,” a tribute to her father, and closes with Alkhazishvili’s three-part “A Handful of Dust,” an introspective look at the cycle of life.
"Thank you Lyn, for the weakness our hearts felt listening to your words, and for the strength our souls gained when we united with the spirit you pour in your words.
I am sorry Lyn, I am not a poet, but by thanks to you, I felt like one.”
HASSANEIN YOUNISS ALY,
A Taste Of Cascadia
This Cascadian collection puts together two short comedies by Lyn Coffin. In Fries in a Wineglass, two sisters discover the truth about themselves, and a canned ham. In Lutefisk, two middle-aged lovers connect in an unusual way, and we learn the meaning of "gavage." These plays deliver substantial themes while remaining light on their feet. They play out over purchased food. Public spaces become stages on which we try to find each other and find, instead, old resentments, new irritations, the uncertainty of memory. And the power of shared history to sustain us.
"In Lutefisk and Fries in a Wineglass, Lyn Coffin presents us with characters who are down but not out, people who have been baffled and even battered by life ...sparkles with delightful phrases and wonderful humor."
LEONARD D. GOODISMAN,
Playwright; Director of Development, Eclectic Theater, Seattle Washington
The poetry of Georgia, a country of ancient culture in the South Caucasus, is the crown jewel of its exceptionally rich literary heritage. Secular poetry, having emerged from the fusion of folk poems and religious hymns and homilies of the early Christian era over a thousand years ago, remained a dominant genre of Georgia literature well into the twentieth century. Even today poetry is held in the highest esteem as a particularly noble form of art, not just a domain of academic studies, but a part of daily life…. Poetry is indeed the key to understanding Georgian culture.
The present anthology offers the English-speaking reader a first-rate collection of Georgian poems in translation, a valuable glimpse into the treasures of Georgian poetry.
Fanciful color illustrations of whimsical animal beings speaking in Georgian verse? Marvelously rendered in English, complete with rhyme? Too much, you say? Not enough! From the drawing board of Zaza Abzianidze in (the former Soviet Republic of) Georgia, between the Black Sea and the Caspian - now to your hands.
“Wind is blowing in the yard,
Beetle finds the going hard.
He goes slowly through the wheat
Limping on his five good feet."
Standing on Earth
In his poems of memory and displacement, Iranian poet Mohsen Emadi charts his experience of exile with vivid, often haunting, imagery and a child's love of language. Lyn Coffin's translations from the Persian allow Emadi's poems to inhabit the English language as their own, as the poet recasts his earliest memories and deepest loves over the forges of being "someone who goes to bed in one city and wakes up in another city." Alternating between acceptance and despair, tenderness and toughness, he writes, "I wanted to be a physicist," but "Your kisses made me a poet." Mohsen Emadi is a powerful witness to life in the present times, and Standing on Earth introduces a major world poet to an English-language readership for the first time.
Read a review here.
Henry and Punkin
Punkin was an orangutan who slept under Henry's bed. He was imaginary and Henry thought how wonderful it would be if Punkin was really real. But when Henry's wish comes true, he begins to wonder if maybe it's just too much trouble when imaginary friends become really real.
This Green Life
This Green Life assimilates work from Lyn Coffin's previous collections. This stunning collection also includes new work never before published. This volume includes poetry from Human Trappings, The Poetry of Wickedness, Crystals of the Unforeseen, East and West, Joseph Brodsky Was Joseph Brodsky, A Marriage Without Consummation, and New Poetry. It also includes the never before published "Rodin's Girl Friend."
Jiri Orten was one of the great poets of the 20th century. A Czech Jew who narrowly avoided being sent to a concentration camp, Orten was hit by a speeding German car in Nazi-occupied Prague in 1941. He was refused admission to a nearby hospital and died shortly afterwards (at the age of 22) in a “Jewish Hospital” which was basically a warehouse. "Jiri Orten is a powerful, visionary poet whose work has been beautifully translated by Lyn Coffin.
The First Honeymoon
Lyn Coffin writes with heart and humor of longing and searching—for place, for connection, for love. Here, among these 17 stories, an artichoke reveals for a young bride the fault lines already dooming her new marriage; a mother makes final amends for telling an unwelcome truth about Christmas by telling a comforting lie about death; a young girl navigates the madness of her mother, the possible evil of her father and questions about her own state of mind; and we are treated to an inspired retelling of the classic Tortoise and the Hare fable. Coffin’s fictions cross boundaries; they are funny, ominous and heartbreakingly true.
Morový sloup / The Plague Monument
Poems by Jaroslav Seijert, translated by Lyn Coffin.
Lyn’s translation was used by the Norwegian Nobel Committee in granting Seifert 1984 Nobel Prize in Literature "for his poetry which endowed with freshness, sensuality and rich inventiveness provides a liberating image of the indomitable spirit and versatility of man".
"With open eyes,
I wandered through this land.
It’s beautiful! You know it is.
Perhaps this land has meant more to me than
all my loves put together
and her grip on me lasted my whole life."
Counting the Wounds
In her short story "Counting the Wounds", Coffin again wrestles with the topics of reality and illusion, truth and facade. It is the seventh day of the rest of Susan's life -- a life in which an unexpected tragedy has called everything into question.
Counting the Wounds is a story told obliquely – its style mirroring Susan’s experience as she is faced with a brutal reality: What Susan wants she has lost; what she says she no longer wants, becomes all she has left. The story circles, never looking directly at the event that has overturned Susan’s world until the end when Susan must accept that the only way past grief is to move directly through it.
Crystals of the Unforseen
An award-winning writer of poetry, prose and drama, Lyn Coffin probes the depths of the heart in this collection of recent work. The book includes a one-act play, a group of stories, and a section of her poems. At home in any genre, Coffin is an impeccable wordsmith who dares to linger below the surface of things with sardonic wit and passion. As the title indicates, the unforeseen is the operative villain hereand this book is the soul's journey to overcome the sting of that which cannot be controlled. The reader is rewarded with the surprise of truth that grows organically from the struggles of these characters. Margo LaGattuta, Poet, Embracing the Fall, Workshop Facilitator, Radio Host
Poetry of Wickedness and Other Poems
Original poems by Lyn Coffin.
Still Life With Snow
Dato Barbakadze speaks with a distinct voice and rare vision in poems that invite contemplation more than dramatic reaction. If they sometimes feel a little cold at first reading, that may be because they carry the shivering realities of a life lived under harsh circumstances seen through eyes that did not turn away from tough questions. But always, poem by poem, there is within the poetry the warmth of real humanity and the brightness, the hungry intelligence of his song, fresh as new-fallen snow. (from the introduction by American poet Sam Hamill)
More Than One Life
More Than One Life chronicles several generations of an upper-middle-class Czech family. Beginning in the years preceding World War II, this lyrical novel concentrates on the narrator's tragically mismatched parents and the children's attempts to come to terms with each of them. As the narrator probes her past, she reconstructs childhood events by comparing her own memories with those of her siblings, coming to view her family with startling insights and with new respect, pity, guilt, and--ultimately--forgiveness.
Published in a limited edition of 249 numbered copies. Coffin is a prolific writer who has published poetry, fiction, drama, and several books of translation. A former editor of the Michigan Quarterly Reviews, Coffin has received the Academy of American Poets award, and has won Major Hopwood Awards in every available category short fiction, long fiction, poetry, non-fiction . Bembo Narrow Italic and Joanna types on Arches Text paper. Signed by printer Harry Duncan. Some chipping of spine label. Bookplate removed from free endpaper. 68 pages. cloth, paper label spine. 8vo..
Joseph Brodsky Was Joseph Brodsky
Mosaic of world poetry, by Lyn Coffin.
Anna Akhmatova Poems
Ever since her death in 1966 Anna Akhmatova has been recognized as the greatest modern Russian poet. A rich and representative selection of Akhmatova’s work―from her poignant, deeply personal love poems to her haunting laments for the martyrs of the Stalinist purges―has been newly translated by the American poet Lyn Coffin. In her finely crafted translations Coffin has been uniquely successful in reproducing the directness and striking effects characteristic of Akhmatova’s poetry, and she is the first to remain true to Akhmatova’s rhyme and cadence. The poems are prefaced by a thoughtful introduction by the poet Joseph Brodsky, a friend of Akhmatova in her later years.
“IN DE STROOM VAN DE TIJD – EN LA CORRIENTE DEL TIEMPO” (IN THE STREAM OF TIME, MEDITATIONS IN THE HIMALAYAS)
Poetry by Germain Droogenbroodt. Dutch-Spanish
Cover & illustrations: Frans Minnaert
Translation by the American poet and translator, Lyn Coffin.
RIFLES AND RECEPTION LINES
" 'Rifles and Reception Lines', by Lyn Coffin and Mercedes Luna Fuentes, forms a perfect, dislocated unity which attracts us by its double profoundness. The alternate and spontaneous treatment of both translation and literary genres—including the poetic-narrative overlap—encourages, in our bilingual eyes, constant turns and overturns. In correlation with the work’s heterogeneity, readers experience a shiver—for that, nothing prepares us —stemming from the idea and not only the idea...." - From the Introduction, by Alexandra Páez Sáenz
This is a very exciting collection because it is the collaboration in a single project of two excellent poets. The entire work forms a complex web of harmonies and dissonances, in the manner of a verbal forest. There is a constant movement between the close and the distant, between the here and there, between the minimum and maximum ... The result is the miracle of poetry.