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Showing posts from 2017

In Search of Poetry: Richard Murphy

What is the cost of poetry? Or rather, what is the cost to oneself and others of a life of dedication to a lonely art? Which perfection, in the Yeatsian formula, do you choose, the life or the work? The title of Richard Murphy’s new book suggests a reflection on the art of poetry from a master practitioner now approaching his 90th birthday, but the book is much more personal and intimate than that. Part journal, part working diary, part memoir, all from the early 1980s, it charts the initiation and development of the sonnet sequence that would make up The Price of Stone, the poet’s much praised 1985 collection. Each poem in what became a 50 sonnet sequence ventriloquises a building that has a resonance for the poet. This in turn means that the poet becomes the addressee, the biographical subject matter displaced into the consciousness of a roof-tree, restaurant, industrial school or ancestral home. They are free to address and accuse the poet so that the sequence also functions as an …

To Mark Anthony in Heaven

Another I couldn't resist

William Carlos Williams

To Mark Anthony in Heaven

This quiet morning light
reflected, how many times
from grass and trees and clouds
enters my north room
touching the walls with
grass and clouds and trees.
trees and grass and clouds.
Why did you follow
that beloved body
with your ships at Actium?
I hope it was because
you knew her inch by inch
from slanting feet upward
to the roots of her hair
and down again and that
you saw her
above the battle's fury--
clouds and trees and grass--

For then you are
listening in heaven.

What Gets Lost

I couldn't resist this one, by the brilliant poet, essayist and translator of Borges, Neruda, José Emilio Pacheco, Herberto Padillo, Eugenio Montejo and others.

Alastair Reid
What Gets Lost

I keep translating traduzco continuamente entre palabras words que no son las mías into other words which are mine de palabras a mis palabras.

Y, finalmente, de quién es el texto? Who has written it? Del escritor o del traductor writer, translator o de los idiomas or language itself? Somos fantasmas, nosotros traductores, que viven entre aquel mundo y el nuestro between that world and our own. Pero poco a poco me ocurre que el problema the problem no es cuestión de lo que se pierde en traducción is not a question  of what gets lost in translation sino but rather lo que se pierde what gets lost entre la ocurrencia -sea de amor o de desesperación between love or desperation- y el hecho de que llega a existir en palabras  and its coming into words. Para nosotros todos, amantes, habladores as lovers or users of…