Found in Transcreation

finished up The Form of a City Changes Faster, alas, than the Human Heart.

not sure i learned very much about paris (the city) as much as i learned about the paris that exists in roubaud’s imagination. a paris whose streets and cafes act as the impetus for the mathematical formulas which are always running through roubaud’s mind. so when he speaks of “running the streets” i am translating that into “running the numbers” or maybe “imagining the possibilities” and speaking of translation, a common theme in this here blog, i am very befuddled as to when the translator decides to keep the french and when they bounce back to english. i would give an example from the text but i dont have the volume with me at this second (translation: i am too lazy to dig it out of my bookbag).

transition yourselves now from the streets of paris to la isla del encanto, puerto rico, as i have just picked up Puerto Rican Poetry: An Anthology from Aboriginal to Contemporary Times. i’ve only glanced through it but i am already pleased with the aesthetic editor robert marquez is putting forth. also have to thank marquez for introducing me to the phrase “transcreation” which i think may help me get over some of my issues with “translation”

transcreation comes from brazilian writer haroldo de campos. de campos asks that translation flow with a nod toward the linguist, anthropologist, musician, dramaturg , and (of course) poet in us to transfrom the text into an almost new body of work. my translation: attack the work from a personal place and present it as YOUR translation and not the universal translation.

i leave you with, get ready for it, more poetic translation! this courtesy of Meanwhile Take My Hand by Kirmen Uribe, translated by Elizabeth Macklin.

The Traveller Speaks of His Birthplace

In our desert there is no sand.
There are growing boys
who cross the steel barriers and
play soccer on the thruway.

There is no water in our sea.
The waves were a thousand blue horses.
Once with a thousand soldiers
they were carried away.

In our desert there is no sand.
But there’s a giant wall of stone
which, though we can’t see it,
has encircled us; closed
in, close.

There is no water in our sea,
or any wake from the past.
Our futures recline on the beach,
big with tears and broken mirrors.

There is no water in our desert.
There is no sand in our sea.

From Meanwhile Take My Hand by Kirmen Uribe,
translated by Elizabeth Macklin.

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1 Comment

  1. Very much enjoyed my time here, wading through your blog…as a poet, and an avid reader, I found it both enlightening and enriching.

    Thank you…

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