2015. január 9., péntek

My approach to writing a first draft translation was much the same as if I were sitting down to 'write my own poem'. Of course literary translation is a creative act in the first place. I had amassed a certain amount of information about what this poem might have been and used that information to chalk out boundaries in which I would compose a new sonnet. 

My feeling was that the strict formal structure of the original was probably parodic given what I understood of the content. I'm not comfortable with hard end-stopped rhyme and did not want to write a parody. It would require me to parody the original, which is a parody of several poetic elements - the result would be a smug spiral of literary allusion. 

I wanted to work with the rhyme scheme and had been recently thinking about using the sonnet as a 140 syllable rectangle. I felt there was a volta within the original which would carry over. I have been thinking about pro-wrestling a lot recently and the improvised per/formal elements of a wrestling match. Generally, as with the performance of writing, one has a few bits and pieces one wants to get in (if the right moment arises) and a space (the ring/formal construct) to work in.

This is the first draft :


A few days later I received some notes from Réka on my gloss. Incorporating them the gloss reads like this :


oversized ars poetica crammed into a sonnet

as a five year-old child’s wooden train set
is swept rushing away from him
he learns to play dice and I regress
to write to you in a broken sonnet form

when they hurt this rough shell  
for example I wrote in iambic  
tetrameter poems said to be good in a bad mood  
I started it as a love letter in a weekly paper

those six lines that can be scanned  
however, my real face is more free  
wing, flutter, dive, be staggered whimsically

I prefer to be misunderstood
and better a harsh word spoken  
than the applause of these flatterers


There are some elements which, in light of the new gloss, may or may not need addressing and may or may not need editing.

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