A couple of weeks ago, I was translating a poem-text coaxed out of Montréal poet Steve Savage, for the San Francisco based journal Eleven Eleven(if they like it, or for someone else if they don’t!). I knew on receiving “Miettes de Pam” that Steve had deftly slipped me a bit of, or an arrangement of, part of his own translation from English into French of NY poet Mina Pam Dick’s (who is also Traver Pam Dick and others) Delinquent. In effect, I was going to translate Steve’s translation of Pam into English as Steve’s French poem. So I looked at it as Steve’s poem. He, after all, wrote all the words before my eyes! I didn’t take Delinquent off the shelf beside me but accepted Steve’s delinquency as emblematic of Pam’s shape-shifting. So I translated, creating a work in my words in English, a faithful—but commented—translation of Steve’s words in French which started as a translation of Pam’s.
Steve said when he read my translation, “Bits of Pam”: I see you, Erín, with Pam lurking behind you! Mina Pam Dick was of course contacted too, and delinquently allows my perverse versions of Steve’s translation to lurk in front of her, as she lurks behind.
All in all, it was a delight with three laughters, one of those signal gestures that passes between the USA and Quebec, between English and French and back again at times. Poetry changes languages among friends and people who admire each other’s work.
Steve Savage, S. Savage, Dessavage, approaches language biologically, fielding the morphology of its formstructures, the physiology of syntax, the anatomy of lexicon, the behaviour of its phonology, the origin and distribution of semantics. Language at the level of the syllable and letter is recomposed into many possible DNA structures, that may grow, move, behave unpredictably. At times, syllables are synthesized to create new beings of linguistic behaviour across the lexical barriers of French and English, or even the authorial personas of S. Savage and Dessavage:
“Aux à tête res seized and synchragon freed into this dreala. Recoud from a holverte de terre, I feel the kerméable. My blood dinaut hole the veson. Parror cet animage, our son heul scent foretold. Un ordre d’onk mule des corded. Morning attraivée du parfur seen through the fingem legal fills cagesoximité. Dense crow maçon du mineraain, their mouth catcoleil se dilue des fouths of bouche recouvals.” (S. Savage, from 2 x 2)