Charles Bernstein, Norbert Lange (German), Ernesto Livon-Grosman (Spanish), Collective à Royaumont (France), Haroldo de Campos (Portuguese), Leevi Lehto (Finnish), Gizem Atlı (Turkish), and Carla Buranello (Italian)
A Test of Poetry
“A Test of Poetry” was written in 1992 and published in My Way: Speeches and Poems (University of Chicago Press, 1999). The poem is based on a letter from the Chinese scholar Ziquing Zhang, who translated poems from Rough Trades and The Sophist for Selected Language Poems (Chengdu, China: Sichuan Literature and Art Publishing House, 1993); quotations from the poems are italicized. It seemed to me that Ziquing Zhang’s questions provided both an incisive commentary on my poems and also raised a set of imponderble yet giddy, not to say fundamental, translation issues. Several poets have take up the task of translating this poem, and we here compile the results: Norbert Lange into German, Ernesto Livon-Grosman into Spanish, Collective à Royaumont dans le cadre de l’Atelier Cosmopolite into French (originally published as a pamphlet by Format Américain), Haroldo de Campos into Portuguese, Leevi Lehto into Finnish, and Gizem Atlı in Turkish (orginally published in Buzdokuz).