Proto es principio y ‘previo,’ lo anterior al efecto, al typo, que es error y tejido, texto. Hacer protos es hacer poemas en proceso, el preámbulo de la conciencia que como robopoeta es cyborg. Crear prototipos es unir lo real con lo ideal, lo irreal con lo posible. En palabra y objeto poético, en texto y vértigo lírico. Todo y posibilidad.
[Proto is beginning and ‘preliminary,’ the thing preceding the effect, the typo, which is error and textile, text. Making protos is making poems in process, the preamble to the cyborg awareness of the robopoet. Creating prototypes is uniting the real with the ideal, the irreal with the potential. In word and poetic object, in text and lyric vertigo.
Rito Ramón Aroche (b. 1961) assembles and dismantles scene after scene in distinct poetry collections. Many pieces project such a heightened awareness of construction and destruction as to put anything called “reality” at a marked remove.
While I feel hard-pressed to finish what I had planned for this column within the time allotted, time is on my side—or lack thereof. One area that remains unexplored is the ways in which theories of artificial intelligence impact translation, especially given the huge impact of machine translation technologies. Forgoing the sense of translation, no longer routed through consciousness, one can embrace an inhuman speed which, while riddled with non-sense may evolve unforeseen sensibilities and new forms of intelligence—while still attending to the situatedness of the agen
The obvious entry for A is anxiogenic: translation is anxiogenic.
Whereas the convergences defining translation cause anxiety or manifest around situations causing anxiety – be that experienced as apprehension, dismay, desire, dread, fear, fugue, inclination, misgiving, restlessness, etc.
There is a large shelf in the poetry section of Powell’s Used Book Warehouse in Portland, Oregon that is weighed down exclusively by versions of Edward FitzGerald’s illustrious and legendarily loose translation of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. It is perhaps the destiny of only the greatest poems to become furniture, decorative shelf-filler, markers of conformity masquerading as taste. Ultimately, unread. Just as easily do these all-too-willingly adopted artifacts start to become emblems of an embarrassing past, haunting “used” stores with their overabundance like copies of Herb Alpert’s Whipped Cream and Other Delights.
David Hadbawnik’s Aeneid (currently a series of hand-sewn and illustrated chap-books numbered 1 & 2; 3 and 4) is a translation-as-reduction, paradoxically allowing for selective amplification through subtle resonances generated in the space of what’s left out. The epic in general is no light reading, although these translucinations make it so without trivializing the content. Like Christopher Logue’s similarly reduced Iliads (but unlike, I would say, Ronald Johnson’s erasure of Paradise Lost or this more transductive work of conceptual needlepoint), the modernist spacing and minimalist gestures of condensation allow the poem to take advantage of an aeon of intertextuality, without getting the Laocoön end of it.
No language is one. That’s one of the more salient affirmations of Derrida’s work on translation. This multiplicity and struggle for meaning, the infirmation of a singular text, is amplified in these works that introduce images in ways that are additive, not reproductive. Eugenes Ostashevsky and Timerman’s recent collaborative chapbook The Pirate Who Does Not Know the Value of Pi, Part I extends the informatic looseness of Brainard/Berrigan’s Drunken Boat to show that if language is not one, neither is it 3.14159265 . . .
Ted Berrigan’s “The Drunken Boat” — a mimeograph publication from 1974 with drawings by Joe Brainard — exemplifies a different type of insouciance towards the source text than any we’ve seen thusfar. Berrigan passes off his seemingly straight, utterly conventional translation of Rimbaud’s “Le Bateau Ivre” as his own work. He calls his translation a “homage” to Rimbaud — which, while usually a humble gesture acknowledging influence and gratitude, in this case could be possibly interpreted as a form of naked aggression and erasure.