Eddic to English



The Poetic Edda: Stories of the Norse Gods and Heroes
Hackett Publishing Company, Ltd.
392 pages

Translated poems (35):

Codex Regius (30)
Vǫluspá, Hávamál, Vafþrúðnismál, Grímnismál, Skírnismál, Hárbarðsljóð, Hymiskviða, Lokasenna, Þrymskviða, Vǫlundarkviða, Alvíssmál, Frá dauða Sinfjǫtla, Grípisspá, Reginsmál, Fáfnismál, Sigrdrífumál, Brot af Sigurðarkviðu, Sigurðarkviða hin skamma, Helreið Brynhildar, Dráp Niflunga, Oddrúnargrátr, Atlakviða, Guðrúnarhvǫt, Hamðismál, Helgakviða Hundingsbana (I, II), Helgakviða Hjǫrvarðssonar, Guðrúnarkviða (I, II, III)

Non-Codex Regius (4)
Baldrs draumar, Rígsþula, Hyndluljóð, Grottasǫngr

Other (1)
The Cowboy Hávamál

Other notable contents: Crawford's translation is missing the Codex Regius poem "Atlamál" (cf. p. xxiii) and includes an original poem, the "Cowboy Hávamál" (see discussion in "Observations" section below).
Notes? None
Dual Edition? No
Bowlderization/censorship: No (cf. p.79)
Original illustrations? None


a.) Vǫluspá (p. 2):

3. It was at the very beginning,
it was Ymir's time,
there was no sand,
no sea,
no cooling waves,
no earth,
no sky,
no grass,
just Ginnungagap.

b.) Helgakviða Hundingsbana II (p. 215):

Sigrun went inside Helgi's burial mound and she said:

43. "Now I am as happy
to see you, husband,
as Odin's eager
ravens are
when they see
fresh, warm corpses,
or when, dew-covered,
they greet the morning.

c.) Rígsþula (p. 154-155):

43. Rig shared runes
with him,
but King tricked him,
and learned them better than he,
and then he earned
the right to call himself
by the name of Rig,
for his rune-lore.

II. Reviews

1. Van Deusen, Natalie M. 2014. "Review: Jackson Crawford, trans. The Poetic Edda: Stories of the Norse Gods and Heroes." Scandinavian-Canadian Studies/Études Scandinaves au Canada. Vol. 22, pp.153-155. Positive review.

Sample quote:

"Crawford’s knowledge of and passion for the topic is clear throughout, and he strikes an excellent balance between approachability and authenticity. I will most certainly be using this translation when I teach Norse mythology in the future and will recommend it to anyone looking for an approachable introduction to the subject."

2. Gade, Kari Ellen. 2016. "Review: The Poetic Edda by Jackson Crawford". The Medieval Review. Online. Negative review.

Sample quote:

"Because of the many inaccuracies and mistakes, this is unfortunately not a translation that can be recommended for academic purposes, neither for research nor for teaching. The translation reads well, and it is a great pity that Crawford apparently did not consult other scholarly editions and translations, which would have helped avoid some of the most egregious pitfalls. That being said, a casual reader will likely embrace this volume."


Jackson Crawford is an instructor at the University of Colorado Boulder who operates a widely viewed Youtube channel supported by a Patreon account. Jackson’s videos generally feature him dressed in western wear at scenic locations around the Rocky Mountains.

Although Crawford produces a lot of content for his Youtube channel, Crawford’s translation is perhaps most notable for what it lacks: Like Jeramy Dodds's translation published a year before his own, readers will find no notes in Crawford’s translation. Outside of Dodds, contemporary translations at the same price point feature extensive notes, including the majority of his contemporaries (see, for example, Larrington’s revised edition, 2014).

In turn, while Crawford mentions on his Youtube channel (“Why a new Edda translation?”, 2017) that he chose to produce his translation of the Poetic Edda in a manner particularly approachable for students new to the text, the translator’s decision to forego notes and other supplementary items beyond a short introduction (and the inclusion of his own “Cowboy Hávamál”) necessitates that readers turn to other sources to make sense of much of the material he renders. The result is a particularly unapproachable and unhelpful translation for newcomers to the text.

Additionally, Crawford’s choice to publish only the most commonly translated poems of the eddic poetry constellation only contributes to the remarkable slimness of this edition.