Multi-dimensional translation of an Anglo-Saxon poem. Fed by three centuries of archaeological reports of Roman sculptures found at Bath, and multiple lexicons.

You’ll want to re-read this book in multiple directions. In this sense, RUIN is a complex essay on the thinking of translation over time, as well as an articulate and lapidary ear-led celebration of the enduring energies of a poem about place, architecture, resurgence and memory in and as language.

—Lisa Robertson

Mallarmé suggested that the pages of a book, settled into thickness, present to us the soul’s resting place: in RUIN the tomb is broken, the genie at large, the book one restless upshot of an age of mass bombings.

—Peter Manson

Luke McMullan’s experiment in poetic 'thick translation' defies the common notion of a translation as a substitute for the original text.

—Eugene Ostashevsky


Luke McMullan is prising the nails out of the lyric and holding it ethically accountable for any passivity that might lurk in its corridors… At once jagged and smooth, there's delicacy in this confrontation with personal and collective responsibility that can take one's breath away. One of the most intelligent poets writing anywhere, McMullan also has great technical facility and can keep us poised on the edge of the disaster he carefully articulates, and in which we are all culpable—he does this in the hope that we might see and act. This poet will change things for the better.

—John Kinsella