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“To embrace the tragic interchangeability of nouns and smile inscrutably”: some new translations.

March 26, 2012 \pm\31 12:53 pm

I’ve been thinking about translation and the idea of translation. This is something I get quietly excited about on a regular basis. Translation feels like a large space both inside and next to poetry. I like its paradoxes of authenticity, the risk/challenge of domestication/foreignization, homophonic translation, and the way in which language’s plurality of meanings presents itself so directly in the process of translation. I like that the way in which one thinks about translation has the potential to speak to the confusion/multiplicity/misunderstanding of individual experience, as if the referential space between languages makes explicit the emotional/intellectual space between different people’s experiences. Ben Lerner’s Leaving the Atocha Station (where the title of this post comes from) moves around these issues in some interesting ways: “Her Spanish, like Teresa’s poems, became a repository for whatever meaning I assigned it, and I felt I understood, although I knew I was talking to myself.” I’m excited by the number of and variety of translations coming out. I’m excited to read Joyelle McSweeney and Johannes Goransson’s short book of translation theory Deformation Zone.  UDP and Telephone are definitely keeping things moving. I’m writing a review/essay on a handful of full-length translations, including Emmanuel Hocquard’s The Invention of Glass (Canarium), Gennady Aygi’s Into The Snow (Wave), and Ales Steger’s The Book of Things (BOA), along with a couple others. They need more love and attention. So here are some links to recent poetry translations. What else is good in translation that I don’t know about? Tell me about it in the comments. There are so many translations and so much theory that it’s hard not to feel naive or intimidated by the whole thing, but I feel like those feelings are unnecessary. So tell me more. Thanks.

Tomaž Šalamun translated by Michael Thomas Taren in Paperbag

Sophie Poldolski translated by Paul Legault in REVOLUTIONesque

Henri Michaux translated by Paige Taggart in Sink Review

Sébastien Smirou translated by Andrew Zawacki in Paperbag

Tristan Tzara translated by Heather Green

The entire Swedish Issue of Action Yes

Translation of Borges, Calveyra, Catullus, Fuertes, Corbiere, Timofejev in Loaded Bicycle

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4 Comments
  1. ana permalink
    March 26, 2012 \pm\31 1:07 pm 1:07 pm

    If you are New Yorkish, come on Thursday and talk to us about it! http://centerforthehumanities.org/events/State-of-Translation-Trends-in-Innovative-Publishing

    • March 26, 2012 \pm\31 1:10 pm 1:10 pm

      Ana, I’m completely Ohioish or else I’d definitely be at the Chap Festival. Do you think there’s any way to record this panel?

      • ana permalink
        March 26, 2012 \pm\31 1:12 pm 1:12 pm

        Indeed, we’ll video it so it will be everywheresque~!

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