The Farrar, Straus and Giroux Poetry Blog

April 21, 2008

This Week We Translate

Lost_in_translation We're stepping into uncharted waters here, folks. Welcome to the FSG poetry blog's first official poetry-in-translation week.

Full disclosure: I am possibly the worst person ever to host this. Seriously bad. I don't actually speak any other languages. I choose to do my study abroad in Australia.

Somehow despite this--because of this?--I am fascinated by translating poetry. It almost seems willfully complicated, like the literary version of those terrible Strongest Man in the World competitions that you always see on cable. Except, instead of pulling an airplane with her teeth, the translator will remain faithful to the meaning of the original poem while putting her own flourish on the language within! (Audience cheers wildly.)

But I digress.

Luckily we will have some experts to lead us through this wilderness. We have a range of poets and translators who are guest blogging to discuss the subject, including the fabulous Marilyn Hacker, Clare Cavanagh, David Hinton, and several of folks who worked on recent translations of Mayakovsky.

To get yourself psyched up, you can find Yves Bonnefoy audio from last year here and here. Bonnefoy introduces the poems in English and then reads them in French. It's gorgeous.


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