Questions from a Mono

Having raised a couple questions about poetry translation in an earlier post, and getting scant feedback from my multitude of readers, I googled up a nobel prize poetry judging “native language” search.  This review of a book by Edith Grossman,  Why Translation Matters, is concise, fascinating, answers my questions, and certainly tempts me to purchase the book.

4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Emily D. on February 10, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Sadly, poetry does not seem to be as popular among the masses as it once was. We’re all moving at top speed these days, and poetry takes time to read, digest, read again, and digest again until enlightenment is achieved. I still think about a poem I read in high school by Robinson Jeffers, something about a window seat and how he’d selected it as his deathbed. How visitors who sat upon the seat never knew this, and how that they didn’t know pleased him. Still more about god rapping his staff and commanding “Come, Jeffers!” when the time had arrived. Poetry is good stuff. Don’t give up.


  2. Give up? I can’t even slow down.


  3. Posted by Emily D. on February 11, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    The Bed By The Window

    I chose the bed downstairs by the sea-window for a good death-bed
    When we built the house, it is ready waiting,
    Unused unless by some guest in a twelvemonth, who hardly suspects
    Its latter purpose. I often regard it,
    With neither dislike nor desire; rather with both, so equalled
    That they kill each other and a crystalline interest
    Remains alone. We are safe to finish what we have to finish;
    And then it will sound rather like music
    When the patient daemon behind the screen of sea-rock and sky
    Thumps with his staff, and calls thrice: ‘Come, Jeffers.’

    By Robinson Jeffers


  4. You might find some stuff of interest here:
    It’s a translation issue we did with stuff from all over the world, and some of the translators wrote notes on their work. Alex Cigale, the head editor, is a Russian living in NYC; I met him in person there last year and we had a good chat. Another bottomless language blog is “Language Hat”; I’ve met him too, he knows some 40 languages. But I’m going to try to find and scan an interview I have somewhere about Clare Cavanaugh about her translation of Adam Zagajewski’s poems from Polish – it was fascinating and came from World Literature Today.


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