translation

What war, huh?

Subjection in/as dissolution in Roger Santiváñez’s poetics, a translator’s note

Panel of winners of el Premio Libro de Poesía Breve, 2011. Image from Hipocampo Editores, via Wikimedia Commons.

By the time Roger Santiváñez published his chapbook Symbol, which is often thought of as marking a turn in his writing toward a neobaroque poetics post-1991, he had come to live in the United States, where he has resided since.

Chronology & notes for Sawako Nakayasu's "Some Girls"

Partial page from Sawako Nakayasu, "Selected Chronology & Notes" to the book "Some Girls Walk into the Country They Are From"

When Sawako Nakayasu’s book Some Girls Walk into the Country They Are From is acquired, some or perhaps most copies will include a pamphlet-style supplement entitled “Selected Chronology & Notes.” Apparently some copies do not include this extra. Yet the notes can be crucial to understanding individual poems in the book.

Dorota Czerner

from 'A Conversation with Jerome Rothenberg: On Poland/1931 and the Pathways of Translation'

Photo-collage for 'Poland/1931' by Eleanor Antin.
Photo-collage for 'Poland/1931' by Eleanor Antin.

[The following is a segment of a longer “conversation” between me and Dorota Czerner, to accompany her translations into Polish of poems of mine from Poland/1931 and Khurbn, to be published in the journal Chidusz, in Wroclaw, Poland, later this year. The discussion of translation and reverse translation (into Polish and Yiddish) may be of particular interest here. (J.R.)]

 

1.

Translating in mirrors

Photo of Don Mee Choi ©Photographer SONG Got, courtesy of Don Mee Choi.
Photo of Don Mee Choi ©Photographer SONG Got, courtesy of Don Mee Choi.

The title of Don Mee Choi’s new pamphlet, Translation is a Mode=Translation is an Anti-neocolonial mode, contains a “=” mark, a symbol that is not written language and yet conveys a recognizable meaning. The equal sign establishes equivalency: the “=” holds a mirror to the first clause, showing a second clause that’s not an exact replica, yet is in some ways a reflection. The “=” achieves what Choi approaches in her pamphlet: translation as a twinning language. As Choi writes on the first page of her pamphlet, “I come from such twoness.

Sounding/listening through the fog

On Kathryn Scanlan and Friederike Mayröcker

Reading the introductions to Kathryn Scanlan’s Aug 9 — Fog and Friederike Mayröcker’s from Embracing the Sparrow-Wall or 1 Schumann-Madness (trans. Jonathan Larson), I find myself charged with an imperative to listen. 

Reading the introductions to Kathryn Scanlan’s Aug 9 — Fog and Friederike Mayröcker’s from Embracing the Sparrow-Wall or 1 Schumann-Madness (trans. Jonathan Larson), I find myself charged with an imperative to listen. Mayröcker’s Embracing is a translated radio play, a Hörspiel — which literally means a “listening play.” Scanlan’s Aug 9 — Fog is a translated diary, taken from the voice of an eighty-six-year-old and recapitulated from the author’s subjectivity.

Coolitude poetics interview with Amar Ramesar

Amar Ramesar

In this interview I ask Amar Ramesar questions about his life as a musician. He has taken the lyrics written by Lalbihari Sharma in 1916 on the Demerara sugar plantation and put it back into music. This kind of revivification of his music lends itself to new interpretations, which it finds in his craft.

 

'playback on the rise'

The Señal chapbook series

US cultural diplomacy with Latin America seems a low priority under the current administration, and this makes me more grateful than ever for the Señal poetry chapbook series. These poems and their English translations engage questions about the intersections of Latin American and US history, culture, and language — implying that what is received in literature and culture bears examination.

When poems travel

Trans-. The prefix means “across,” “beyond,” “through.” It appears at the beginning of words that signify motion and change: “transportation,” “tranformation,” and of course “translation.” In 1830 Goethe captured just one kind of motion and change brought about by translation when he remarked to Johann Peter Eckermann: “I do not like to read my Faust any more in German, but in this French translation all seems again fresh, new, and spirited” (trans. John Oxenford).

'Coolie Woman' and trans-creation

Gaiutra Bahadur came to visit the University of Hawai‘i while I was there as a graduate student. She gave a presentation on her book which emerged as a kind of light to guide my own writing. In Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture, Bahadur begins her process of investigating Caribbean history with the oral histories of her family. In pursuit of information about her great grandmother, Sujaria, Bahadur wonders about the particularities that women faced during the period of Indian Indenture.

Coolie Woman

Gaiutra Bahadur came to visit the University of Hawai‘i while I was there as a graduate student. She gave a presentation on her book which emerged as a kind of light to guide my own writing. In Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture, Bahadur begins her process of investigating Caribbean history with the oral histories of her family. In pursuit of information about her great grandmother, Sujaria, Bahadur wonders about the particularities that women faced during the period of Indian Indenture.

She begins her book with the assertion that,

Versatorium:

Translation as social project — Austria and elsewhere

Neuberg Train station, Neuberg, Austria
Neuberg Train Station

After the unfathomable swarm that was the Women’s March in D.C., I find it both difficult and necessary to return to thinking about the small, local, intimate actions that are the focus of this series of posts. Necessary because massive gatherings, though exhilerating, are also largely symbolic and affective (unless they actually shut things down), while the actions I am writing about are concrete, direct, and (inter)personal. Difficult because actions both small and slow provoke feelings of panic in a time of such painful crisis.

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