The Farrar, Straus and Giroux Poetry Blog

April 10, 2007

"The Otherness Of The Translator"

Here is Yves Bonnefoy reading a second poem in French, 'La Maison Natale.'

I wasn't able to come up with a good title for this poem, and many of the French speakers in the FSG offices were reluctant to translate the title without the body of the poem also translated--further proof that this poetry in translation thing is tricky, very tricky!

So I'll present here 'La Maison Natale' as Bonnefoy read it in the original French, and if you can suggest a title in English, please mention it in the comments below. I'll give a copy of Bonnefoy's The Curved Planks to the title I like the best. (Click here to download the audio directly.)


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The Natal House or The Birthplace?

Martin Walker

"The house where I was born"
(vide Hood: "I remember, I remember/The house where I was born"

Matthew Del Nevo


I translate it as this because in English Translations he has assisted in (cf previous bilingual editions) he takes such liberties to give, where it is requisite, a more natural, colloquial, and here, also, elemental quality.
The concision and emotive quality of this translation make it perfect I think.

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