So. I joined this project late in the day, but I went to the final gala reading and wanted to respond to the idea of listening to poems in translation. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘translation’
I wish I could post this under Simon and Swithun’s analysis (ses), like a p.s. Hum.
Two perspectives from Gists & Piths contributors
by Holly Hopkins
I want to say it was the idea of translation as a utopian act that will stick most in my mind. It might make me feel learnéd. Or the description of how a literal word for word translation will kill a poem and one must go back to the “pre-verbal” on the way to a new poem (how I wish Richard Lattimore had been forced to study that idea before I had been forced to study Richard Lattimore). Or perhaps my favourite John Berger moment was,
“Lyric poems are always a last resort, if there was a more direct way it would be done, it is an appeal to the sky and you only appeal to the sky when you’ve done everything else.”
These ideas interested me, but are not the strongest taste in the mouth.
That was a new realisation of something I am sure should have been obvious, which came from watching a video of Mahmoud Darwish’s last reading in Palestine, in June this year. I was not aware of just how much a poem’s meaning and worth derived from its sound. I know that statement is ridiculous, indeed if you think about it literally, it’s nonsense. I have never met anyone who enjoyed poetry who didn’t sound the words in their heads when they read. Indeed I have often wondered if this was a fundamental distinction between those who enjoy poetry and do not. But it never occurred to me how much I would enjoy listening to a man reading his poem in a language of which I do not understand a single words.