I also have the Blackmore edition of Hugo’s poetry. Unfortunately, I don’t read French so I can’t really pass judgment on the quality of the text, but from the perspective of an English speaker, the poems read quite naturally. What I liked best was that the translators acknowledged that Hugo (being Hugo) would not have approved of a volume of selected poems, seeing as his works were “an indivisible whole.” They quote Hugo, in proper form, as saying that “publishers who, exploiting the public domain, will abridge my work, under the pretext of offering selections...will be...imbeciles.”
Aside from that, I really loved the poetry. It has been a while since I read this, but I remember being impressed by the selections from La Légende des siècles
– Hugo at his epic, sweeping best. Next to that, I liked the charming contrast of L'Art d'être grand-père
, mostly because I love thinking of him being a loving grandfather, especially since the lives of his own children were so tragic.
Does anyone know of any other good English translations of Hugo’s poetry? I think it’s a shame (unless I’ve just been having remarkably bad luck in finding any of it) that his poetry isn’t more available in translation, especially since I believe he considered himself to be primarily a poet.