October 1st, 2011 § § permalink
- Mary Jo Bang: Elegy (2007)
- Lucie Brock-Broido: A Hunger (1988)
- George Oppen: The Materials (1962)
- Tomas Tranströmer: 17 Poems (1954, tr. from the Swedish by Robin Fulton)
- Marguerite Duras: Écrire (1993, French)
- Richard Hugo: The Triggering Town: Lectures and Essays on Poetry and Writing (1979)
Yes to all of them. It’s just one of those months.
A couple of extra notes:
- The Hugo I read in preparation for my first teaching semester at Wash U. I’m teaching a Poetry 1 class, meaning my students are all beginners in poetry. But they are enthusiastic and lovely. They read the first two chapters of The Triggering Town and loved it. I recommend it to all teachers and students of poetry.
- The Duras is a book I partially read a long, long time ago, when I was studying French (which I should start doing again). I started it again for a translation workshop I took in the spring. I translated about half the book (three drafts). Then over the summer I worked on a first draft of the rest of the book. I’m stuck with the remaining twenty pages, in which Duras talks endlessly about how she watches a fly die on the wall. It’s the worst piece in the book, which is a hard thing to reckon with when you’re attempting a translation. The other pieces are pretty wonderful though. Hopefully I can do something with the translations.
- OK, couple plus one point: So I started reading Lucie Brock-Broido over the summer because I knew she would be a visiting professor in the fall. Reading A Hunger, I fell in love with her, and when she visited, I got to introduce her at her reading. This was last Thursday and it went off well. Lucie is an amazing reader and wonderfully generous in person as well. Then I got to have dinner with her and three of my poetry teachers — weird. I think I ate three bites of food.
So yes, horribly lax with writing down my thoughts about my reading, which is the whole point of this blog: to keep track of and force myself to articulate my thinking about books I read. If you have questions about anything, please ask. I’ll pull out my notes. If I have notes. Which I sometimes do.
» Read the rest of this entry «
May 10th, 2011 § § permalink
- Louis Aragon: Paris Peasant (1926, tr. from the French by Simon Watson Taylor)
- Georges Bataille: Story of the Eye (1928, tr. from the French by Joachim Neugroschel)
- André Breton: Nadja (1928, tr. from the French by Richard Howard)
- Louise Glück: A Village Life (2010)
- Aleš Šteger: The Book of Things (2005, tr. from the Slovenian by Brian Henry)
- Brian Teare: Sight Map (2009)
- Tomas Tranströmer: The Half-Finished Heaven (1954-96, tr. from the Swedish by Robert Bly)
So the running theme for fiction seems to be Surrealism. Why? Because I took a Dada & Surrealism class this past semester, and well, can you tell I’m exhausted by it? I just finished writing a long and highly mediocre paper for it, so my gut reaction to almost anything high Surrealist (as in, actually belonging to the movement that Breton micromanaged) is *vomit* — I’ll get to all of that in a bit, but I have to say, stick around for the poetry; most of it is really very excellent. » Read the rest of this entry «
March 3rd, 2011 § § permalink
Mark Dixon: Red Forest (2009)
This morning I decided I needed to own some Tomas Tranströmer — in whatever way one can imagine such ownership — and began to shop around for translations. I came across this blog post on Robin Robertson‘s versions of Tranströmer. The writer of the blog post speaks to the problem of translating Tranströmer and to the problems of the English versions themselves. It’s a short and quite interesting piece and it made me think of why people write versions in the first place. What does ‘version’ even mean?
Much like deciding what is ‘good’ in a poem, there is hardly ever agreement about what a translation should do. Aside from some very strange and pedantic people, though, I think almost everyone agrees that literalness and blind copying of formal aspects of the original are poor techniques of translation. And if a translation is necessarily going to be more than a transliteration, why use a term like ‘version,’ which seems to imply greater freedom than a translation already does? » Read the rest of this entry «