Timothy Adès : Translator–Poet

About Timothy Adès

Timothy Adès, born 1941, has degrees in classics and international business. He translates mainly French, German and Spanish poems into English, tending to work with rhyme and metre.

His three books to date are:

  • Victor Hugo, How to be a Grandfather, Hearing Eye 2012 — the new complete edition is now on sale (the 2002 edition of selected poems is sold out):
    • revised and enlarged
    • published by Hearing Eye
    • 184 pages
    • language: English
    • rhyming text, introduction, lifeline, notes
    • + other poems by Hugo
    • + Hugo as seen by other poets
  • Jean Cassou, 33 Sonnets of the Resistance (composed and memorised in a Vichy prison), Arc Publications 2002;
  • Cassou, The Madness of Amadis, Agenda Editions 2008.

See a full list of Timothy Adès’s publications.

Other favourites are Brecht, and the Mexican, Alfonso Reyes; Sikelianós, Nerval, Louise Labé, Ricarda Huch, Manuel Gutiérrez Nájera, Hans/Jean Arp; and most of all, Robert Desnos, 1900–45, the most exciting French poet of the last century.

Timothy’s awards include the John Dryden Prize and the TLS Premio Valle–Inclán Prize.


On 13 March, on Radio Resonance, ‘The Opera Hour’ covered the current issue of Agenda magazine, ‘Poetry and Opera’. Richard Scott was with editor Patricia McCarthy and contributors Eva Salzman, Sorana Santos and Timothy Adès. Please go to https://soundcloud.com/resonance-fm/sets/the-opera-hour and find 13 March at the foot of the page.

On Saturday 10 May, Timothy reads with Elaine Feinstein at Poetry–next–the–Sea at Wells, Norfolk.

From 9 to 11 May, Timothy will be selling books of poetry in translation, hand–picked, at Poetry–next–the–Sea. This is a unique bookstall for poetry in translation.

On Sunday 26 May at Keats House, London, Timothy read his prize poem in the Flamingofeather poetry competition; see under Lipograms. Flamingofeather is a London–based multi–media arts company covering physical theatre, dance and literature.

Timothy has read solo at the Suffolk Poetry Society, the Kent and Sussex Poetry Society, at Mayfield for Agenda, in Guernsey, at Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution (twice), at the Maison Française in Oxford and at many venues around London, and has featured in events at the Universities of East Anglia (twice) and Newcastle, at Keswick in Cumbria, at the British Library and at King’s Place in London. A Londoner, he often contributes at the Torriano and the Troubadour.

He has appeared three times at the Institut Français. He organised a translator panel at the Torbay Poetry Festival, 2009, and spoke for poetry at International Translation Day, London 2013.

Read more about poetry events involving Timothy Adès.

  • Translating Poetry

    “I like to work with rhyme and metre, as in the original. This was a very long poem, in translator hours. It was a joy to find so many happy co–incidences, so many rhymes, some ordinary, some curious and unforeseeable. ‘Wake you’ with ‘vehicle’! So many twists and turns and lucky escapes, thanks to the mighty English language.”

    Read the full article by Timothy Adès.

  • Critical Opinion

    On Victor Hugo How to be a Grandfather:

    “[Often] one forgets that one is reading a translation at all … This is great poetry of childhood, and …, not co–incidentally, it is among the finest poetry of old age … I strongly recommend [it] for the accomplishment of the translator and for the thought–provoking quality of much of what is translated.”

    — Glyn Pursglove

    Read more critical appreciation of Timothy Adès’s work.

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