Richard Lopez dropped by a few days ago and left interesting comments about translation and internationalism.

Like him, my translation projects aren't necessarily in languages I know well, or at all. I only really know English but rely on other versions, transliterations, dictionaries and other aids. Yet I also feel that much of the poetry that interest me is in languages other than English. One of the first books of poetry I ever ever bought was a selection of Montale's poems in English - one of those Penguin Modern European Poets series.

For instance, at the moment I am reading translations of the Cuban exile poet José Kozer, a volume entitled Stet: Selected Poems of José Kozer, translated by Mark Weiss and available through Mark's Junction Press. I had heard of Kozer, specifically but not only from from Mark, but had never read much in translation. Now I can and am loving what I am reading so far.

And, like Richard, I get something from the old Chinese poets, I have turned back to the Tang dynasty poets when I have had need of being refreshed. I don't think it is a kind of exoticism or appropriation but it is certainly another way of seeing/hearing/reading. Something necessary, to get out of your own mind set.

Richard also notes that to some extent we are all becoming internationalists due to the ubiquity of the internet and the contacts and networks it creates as well as greater access to all kinds of works. I think this could be especially the case for those of us who essentially come from migrant and/or invader cultures (ie my forebears came to Australia from England, Scotland and Ireland starting around 150 years ago as well as much less, depending of which side of the family you look at).


Louise said…
Hi Jill, been enjoying your blog for a while. I have finally got around to getting a blog for myself. Come visit sometime if you like. I'm at Lou-Waves, but not sure how to add and link. They don't have lessons for this stuff do they?

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