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Articles tagged "Poetry In Translation"

Rowan Ricardo Phillips: The Poet as Translator and Translator as Poet

Words Without Borders spoke with poet and translator Rowan Ricardo Phillips, whose work appears in WWB's April 2016 issue feature, (In)Verse: Poets Translate Each Other, for which he and Melcion Mateu dialogued between Catalan and English. Here the audio and view photos of WWB's April 27 event at Poets House in New York City, which featured Melcion Mateu, Flávia Rocha, Idra Novey, and moderator Mary Ann Newman in conversation about collaborative...

Pizarnik’s “Extracting the Stone of Madness” & Dabral’s “This Number Does Not Exist”

The Argentine poet Alejandra Pizarnik is not well-known outside of Latin America. In her own short lifetime, she associated with the writers of the Latin American “boom” movement of the 1960s, and achieved modest fame (Octavio Paz, as well as Julio Cortazar, sang her praises), but she never really made it in the English-speaking world. Now New Directions is set to release a collection of Pizarnik’s middle and later poems—Extracting the Stone of...

The Watchlist: April 2016

Every month, from the reviews desk to you, Words without Borders reviews editor M. Bartley Seigel shares a handful of forthcoming titles he's excited about and thinks you should be excited about, too. In honor of National Poetry Month, and in collaboration Colin McDonald—marketing and events coordinator at Seminary Co-op Bookstores in Chicago—who helped compile this list, let us all sally forth into a few new poetry titles worth our good attentions:  From Omnidawn,...

WWB Weekend: Walt Whitman in Baghdad

April is National Poetry Month, and we're spotlighting the over eight hundred poems in our archives. We do hope you'll read several at a sitting: As Ilya Kaminsky notes in his brilliant introduction to our Ecco Anthology of International Poetry, reading collections of poetry provides what Anna Akhmatova called "correspondences in the air," where authors of wildly different backgrounds and languages appear to address each other in their works. Many of these occurrences...

Tweeting our Greatest Hits for #NPM16

In honor of National Poetry Month, Words Without Borders will be tweeting some of the best worldwide poetry in translation from our archives, selected by our editorial director Susan Harris. We begin with Burundian poet Ketty Nivyabandi's "Izina." In the coming weeks, look out for work from Mazen Maarouf, Liu Xia, Tomasz Rózycki, and many more. Follow us on Twitter at @wwborders (and #NPM16) for a daily dose of excellent international...

From “Um País”

You undulate, soaked in iodine and sun around the cold outline of a universe: profound, public, oceanic, the mindset of a country: a tank of pleasure, of collective loss, shimmering in different grades of sepia since sepia is the shade of fine sand, and sand             is the color here, and ocean-blue. The night is at rock-height trying to pronounce your name: hot, salty in my mouth. How to explain the heat a language...

From “Clarice: The Visitor”

  I         “At three in the afternoon, I’m the most demanding woman         in the world . . . When it’s over, six in the afternoon comes, also         indescribable, in which I turn blind.”...

Terra Incognita

I plugged my poem into a manhole cover That flamed into the first guitar, Jarred the asphalt and tar to ash, And made from where there once was Ground a sound instead to stand on.   "Terra Incognita" from The Ground by Rowan Ricardo Phillips. © 2012 by Rowan Ricardo Phillips. Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. 

Kim Yideum’s “Cheer Up, Femme Fatale” & Oh Sae-young’s “Night-Sky Checkerboard”

While reading these two collections, I couldn’t get LCD Soundsystem’s “Losing My Edge” out of my head. Like James Murphy’s “kids coming up from behind,” Kim Yideum is a brash, no holds barred poet, unafraid of sensitive topics, though with a poet’s healthy self-doubt. Oh Sae-young, on the other hand, is an older poet whose generation came of age during the depredations of Korean partition and matured under the fractured and...

translation

is there a zone of darkness between all languages, a black river, that swallows words and stories and transforms them? here sentences must disrobe, begin to roam, learn to swim, not lose the memory that nests in their bodies, a secret nucleus. will the columbine’s blue be a shade of violet when it reaches the other side, and the red bee balm become a pear, cinnamon- sweet? will my tench be missing a fin in the light of the new language? will it have to learn to crawl or to walk...

when speech left me

perhaps i was just drinking coffee or opening the newspaper. perhaps i was drawing the curtains or looking out onto the street when speech left me. still, i thought, what a rattling from deep in the wall, what a clattering in this room. no windowpanes shattered, no chairs toppled in the kitchen. the names on street signs vanished leaving only the ashes of letters. a tanker filled with words retreated above the houses, massive, silent, my swollen tongue twitched in my dry mouth. i escaped...

After Inger Christensen: Humans, Plants, and Planets in New Danish Poetry

In 2011, when I moved from my home country, Denmark, to New York, I was pleased to discover that I shared an idol with several literary Americans. The idol was Inger Christensen (1935–2009), a Danish writer particularly known for her mathematical approach to poetry—and considered the foremost Danish poetic experimentalist of her generation. Through translator Susanna Nied’s mastery, Christensen’s poems have gained a devoted following in English. I was less pleased to...

Face (still life)

What’s the deal with your face, Dad? It seems abandoned. You are not dead, but your face: as if immersed in water. Your skin is colorless and molten — the eyes impossible to penetrate, buried behind a mask of high tension wires, subtle electric growl. You vent short gusts, like those from the bellows we use for the hearth: Your eyebrows crease together, lips drawn taut, nose expels air and silence. You slouch a little, look away. Your hair is impeccably coiffed.   "Face...

from “Third-Millennium Heart”

The will to have no openings, to avoid areas where humiliation and assault take place. In terms of the blood stream, not wanting infrastructure, it’s the same. Sun chariot and moon chariot wheel at the slightest external touch, transporting bright shiny humiliations within the corpus and abracadabra out into every screaming corner. I use expensive drops: anger’s sweat, tablet, pastille, ointment. Balm. Brew three bags for a pot of coma. With a rock I block the cave’s...

from “Everything Shimmers”

  Then suddenly beech woods, all green behind the dozing eyes a deer leaps across the forest road scents of acid and moss and cheek against bark, sunrain between trunks, I'm home and hear the Baltic Sea crash against big rocks far away and I rest like a fairy or a witch in the sweet smells of the forest floor we can so easily forget what we are who we are that we are, but it takes only a little call to waken the sleepers, as now, in the forest, for LISTEN,...

Travel by Train

Translation © 2015 by Meghan Forbes. All rights reserved.

Journey to Angkor Wat

Photo: Sharon May, “Angkor Wat Causeway, Cambodia” (2009) Journey to Angkor Wat (Nireas Nokor Voat), Ukñā Suttantaprījā Ind’s most celebrated poem, recounts his first trip to Siem Reap in 1909 when he was invited to accompany the Khmer provincial governor and his French counterpart to attend King Sisowath’s arrival at the temples of Angkor. It was first published in 1934 but most likely was written between 1909 and 1915. Ind composed his...

Frail Before the Squalor

Frail before the squalor             squalor being a feeble answer the everyday self gives its own abjections it surprises me to be in a city whose name like the humidity that clings to its ancient walls or like its tubercular pigeons means nothing to me any more than being inside its plastic image as I sink into La Defense or lose myself in the ardor of its past      oh the purity the freshness of withered things...

Story

In the fading night sky there are points of light, countless in number, vast in distance—who knows their size, their age? Yet, at one time, people drew imaginary lines between those stars and imagined them as beings: a scorpion, crab, goat, fish, twins, the Virgin . . . And attached names: Aldebaran, Cassiopeia, Danu, Hamal, Orion, Southern Cross, the Plow . . . The silent twinkling lights may have enthralled them, but not enough. Eyes need shapes, ears crave names, the brain arranges...

The Shape of Time: New Palestinian Writing

—Are you there? —Where? —Here? —You mean there? —I mean do you see the sea? —I see sand. —But do you see the sea? —I see time waiting for us. —You mean you see every ruin in us? —I see every shore in us. —So we are lost. —No, just drawing what shapes us. —Like the sea does. —Like the sea has. —I’ll wait for you by the shore? —You mean by our longing. —I mean I don’t know where...

Suono e Significato: On Being Translated into Italian

While completing my MFA in Creative Writing at George Mason University, I took a wonderful course with Jennifer Atkinson entitled, “Poetry in Translation.” I loved reading about how various translators worked, and the rationales behind their linguistic decisions. I even produced a few semi-competent translations of the French Great War poet Guillaume Apollinaire. My French language skills were rusty at best: I labored over those pages with a huge French-to-English dictionary. In...

Preface to Life

To Mohsen Emadi There are voices that stop us that open the ground and fold our hearts into tiny squares   You tell me, Juan left us— I need your embrace   I tell you, Amiri left us— who’s the world now?   Our grief hanging on a telephone line Mexico City—Vermont our eyes fill with their eyes we repeat Juan’s words: There are losses. The important thing is how returning to them transforms them into something new.   Repeat...

On Uladzimir Niakliaeu

I recently read something that amused me: one poet was suggesting that we name a steamship after every one of his contemporaries. In his imagination, all his friends from the literary world took the shape of a liner, a yacht, or a sailing ship, or even a cruiser. They sailed through the ocean and made a powerful fleet. How about some nuclear submarines with poets’ names on them, too? . . .  And then I read Uladzimir Niakliaeu’s new book. And what I found there was not a...

On \“Fish Variations\”

Fish Variations has a very particular phonetic structure that throws up special challenges for the translator. Here are a few comments on these challenges and how I addressed them. Both original poem and translation have seven verses. The first four verses and the final verse are linked by vowel patterns, while verses 5 and 6 are linked to each other, and to verse 1, by consonant patterns.  The first four verses of the original poem mirror each other in the vowel of every...

From the Translator: Working with the Author

Editor's note: Translator Samantha Schnee worked closely with author Carmen Boullosa throughout the translation of the latter's "Sleepless Homeland." The following exchange, with its multiple rounds of drafts, queries, and responses, provides an instructive glimpse of the process. Did we lose you in a game of dice? Did you escape from us in one snort? In which junkie’s syringe did you become trapped, my Homeland? Maybe some Nordic addict’s from the north? When...

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