Presentación del tema: "Production: a more ample process than writing, writing perhaps precedes language, a bodily writing? Interpretation: a critical act of assigning meaning."— Transcripción de la presentación:
Production: a more ample process than writing, writing perhaps precedes language, a bodily writing? Interpretation: a critical act of assigning meaning. One of my mentors Susan Sontag changed the world of critical theory with her Against Interpretation. Semantic and textual analysis: the research and science of coming to understand the relation between the poem and the language and history to which it belongs. The translation now gains the power to transform the receiving language.
For me translation is not easy. I dont know Spanish or any of my languages with a native feel. As a poet, I always see more than what is actually there. Thats not a special gift. I will go over some examples of Antonio Gamonedas poems, obsessively and attempt to illustrate my main points.
Letter to Eppes The earth belongs to the living, not the dead, he hummed as he drove from the hills into the valley Daily the round The gray limbs of early flowering maple tinged with the pink of life The earth belongs, he copied the words into his book, to the living The field of circulating medium filched by private individuals He sat up in bed, awakened by the pounding in his chest A presence there like a wooden arrow pierced more deeply The earth belongs. He took as precept, not natural 4law. When he died he saw that he would die completely. All zeroes. He looked down through the glass floor of the elevator Continuance preceding as if having had a right to eat up the whole soil If tracks fill with water, cease your digging Frogs spawn where the bulldozer cut Change in application, material, or design do not warrant patent Limits to extend, not the dead to bind will and power Earth free from all burthen
Carta a Eppes La tierra pertenece a los vivos, no a los muertos, tarareaba al bajar de las colinas al valle La ronda diaria Las ramas grises del tierno arce floreciente teñidos del rosado de la vida La tierra pertenece, apuntó las palabras en su cuaderno, a los vivos El campo del medio circulante birlado por individuos particulares Se incorporó en la cama, despertado por un golpeo en el pecho Una presencia como una flecha de madera traspasaba más profundamente La tierra pertenece. Lo consideraba precepto, no ley natural. Supo que al morir moriría completamente. Ceros, nada más. Miró a través del suelo de cristal del ascensor La permanencia precediendo como si tuviera derecho de comerse la tierra vegetal toda Si las huellas se llenan de agua, dejen de cavar Las ranas se reproducen donde surcó la excavadora Un cambio de aplicación, material o diseño no requiere patente. Los límites se extienden, los muertos no unen voluntad y poder La tierra libre de toda carga. Trad. Francisca González Arias
1.producción o la creación de poemas I am not the poet, Antonio Gamoneda, I am only his voice in English. I cannot speak to his process of creation. I am a poet Here perforce I should speak to how I write and why I found an immediate sympathy between his work and mine. Here are several factors that my poetry shares with that of Gamoneda:
Some common qualities: naturaleza Wellman: Las ramas grises del tierno arce floreciente Gamoneda: pájaros, jaramago (más in otros poemas) a conversation with the dead: Wellman: When he died he saw that he / would die completely. Gamoneda: los ojos de los muertos cryptic images: Wellman: Una presencia como una flecha de madera Gamoneda: el llanto de hijos asidos al delantal sangriento. proper names: Eppes, Juan Galea political, economic and moral precepts: Wellman: los muertos no / unen / voluntad y poder Gamoneda: líbrame de quien se oculta entre palomas The qualities of imagination that we share (and maybe only in my opinion) has produced a tendency on my part to project, to assume that Gamoneda and myself share similar thoughts and feelings. And although in some senses we do. This sympathy can be conductive to unwarranted interpretations in my translations. Gamoneda has specifically warned me against interpretation instead of direct translation.
IT WAS a confused time full of birds. There was no other light than that of a great sheet whose weave we did not recognize. The lye simmered, menaced by shadow, and passageways led to the great hall of fear. Some mothers bent forward to hear the crying of children who clutched the bloody apron. Bitter cress was inside my mouth. Envy advances like oil on yellow cardboard and Juan Galea, with heavy panniers of anger, slowly succumbs to compassion. Today is the day of steel; its brightness gleams in the eyes of the dead. Invisible mother, deliver me from one who hides among doves, cover my face, save me from Friday.
ERA un tiempo equivocado de pájaros. No existía otra luz que la de una gran sábana cuya urdimbre desconocíamos. La cal hervía amenazada por la sombra y los pasillos conducían al zaguán del miedo. Algunas madres se inclinaban para escuchar el llanto de hijos asidos al delantal sangriento. El jaramago estuvo dentro de mi boca. La envidia avanza como el aceite sobre cartones amarillos y Juan Galea, con una espuerta de ira, baja despacio a la misericordia. Hoy es el día del acero; su resplandor entra en los ojos de los muertos. Madre indistinta, líbrame de quien se oculta entre palomas, cubre mi rostro, sálvame del viernes.
2. interpretación o la lectura sencillo Here are some instances with n the same poem where I have added meaning, which is an effect of interpretation ERA un tiempo equivocado de pájaros IT WAS a confused time full of birds\ I have no sense of a literal meaning for tiempo equivocado. There is no license for my introducing full into the context. I have an image of birds falling from the sky. That influenced my reading. There are other images of confused birds in Gamonedas poetry, that have influenced me too. PÁJAROS. Atraviesan lluvias y países en el error de los imanes y los vientos, pájaros que volaban entre la ira y la luz. Vuelven incomprensibles bajo leyes de vértigo y olvido. BIRDS. They cross rain storms and countries in a misreading of magnets and winds, birds that were flying between anger and light. They return stunned by the laws of vertigo and forgetfulness. (Libro del frío)
This discussion of birds may be an instance where analysis comes in and supports interpretation. It is still interpretation instead of the quality of translation to which I aspire. Here is another problem passage from the text, ERA un tiempo equivocado. that part of the first sentence rings so true for me with out the de pájaros. Juan Galea, con una espuerta de ira, baja despacio a la misericordia. Juan Galea, with heavy panniers of anger, slowly succumbs to compassion. espuertas in the plural can be idiomatic for lots of, plenty of. I tried to convey that sense with heavy and also kept to the literal; basket or panier and I pluralized the term. Today I might write: Juan Galea, with a loaded pannier of anger, slowly succumbs to compassion. I remain unresolved as to options. All express a dissatisfaction possibly with Gamonedas original. Do I have that right? baja also presents interesting problems. I might have used sink to go along with heavy but heavy is my invented term. I like succumb. It is a moral term and here I think my sense of morality rhymes with Gamonedas.
3. análisis semántica y textual Semantic and textual analysis: the research and science of coming to understand the relation between the poem and the language and history to which it belongs. The translation now gains the power to transform the receiving language. In this sense all poetry is an act of translation, a language act. This understanding of the relation between poetry and language has one of its sources in the theories of Walter Benjamin. Here is an extract from his The Work of the Translator
One can extract from a translation as much communicable content as one wishes, and this much can be translated; but the element toward which the genuine translator's efforts are directed remains out of reach. It is not translatable, like the literary language of the original, because the relation between content and language in the original is entirely different from that in the translation. In the original, content and language constitute a certain unity, like that between a fruit and its skin, whereas a translation surrounds its content as if with the broad folds of a royal mantle. For translation indicates a higher language than its own, and thereby remains inappropriate, violent, and alien with respect to its content. In the translation, there is a fracture between the content and language that constituted a unity in the original (158). Por importante que sea la parte de comunicación que se extraiga de ella y se traduzca, siempre permanecerá intangible la parte que persigue el trabajo del auténtico traductor. Ésta no es transmisible, como sucede con la palabra del autor en el original, porque la relación entre su esencia y el lenguaje es totalmente distinta en el original y en la traducción. Si en el primer caso constituyen éstos cierta unidad, como la de una fruta con su corteza, en cambio el lenguaje de la traducción envuelve este contenido como si lo ocultara entre los amplios pliegues de un manto soberano, porque representa un lenguaje más elevado que lo que en realidad es y, por tal razón, resulta desproporcionado, vehemente y extraño a su propia esencia. Esta incongruencia impide toda ulterior transposición y, al mismo tiempo, la hace superflua, (135) The language of the translation is always inadequate or broken with respect to the content of the translation. I am about to posit an eternal inadequacy of language with respect to content.
The object of the translator is the language that he faces. The object of the poet is something spontaneous. However, there are English language schools of poetry that since Derrida have taken language not sentiment as their object. The object of translation has become not the essence of the original but a relationship to the language of the original, seeking some essence or reverberation between the two languages, during the act of translation.
Charles Bernstein, poet and theorist of the language-poetry movement in the USA, in his Artifice of Absorption a versified poetics, has written: A dense or unfamiliar vocabulary can make a poem hard to absorb, not only by calling attention to the sound qualities of its lexicon but also by preventing any immediate processing of the individual words meaning. At some point, the appropriate reference sources may be consulted but this is by no means the only way to hear or understand the work. Un vocabulario denso o no familiar puede hacer que un poema sea difícil de absorber, no solamente al llamar la atención sobre las cualidades sonoras de su léxico sino también por impedir el procesamiento inmediato de cualquiera de los significados de los vocablos. En algún punto, la apropiada fuente de refencias puede ser consultada. Pero esta, de ningún modo, es la única manera o entender la obra. (tr. Heribierto Yepez).
I will explore this topic of language and poetry, poetry and translation tomorrow. I do want here to insist as Bernstein does on the importance of ears and hearing. Orality and musicality are crucial aspects of what has led me to translation. It is where the poetics of one language transforms the poetics of a second language. For now I ask you to consider another example of my work with Gamoneda that reaches this level where one text transforms its own language and the translation transform the second language. At this level there is meaning to be found in language that either poet or translator or both may not be fully aware.
FROM the balconies, above the darkened doorway, I used to watch with my face glued to the cold bars; hidden behind the begonias; I saw the movement of gaunt men. Some had faces gouged by firedamp, etched with terrible blue threads; others sang to lull a hidden orphanity. They were slow men, exasperated by prohibition and the odor of death. (My mother, with her eyes very open, fearful of the creaking of the wooden tiles under her feet, approached my shoulder and, with stealthy violence, pulled me back into the interior of the rooms. She placed the index finger of her right hand over her lips and slowly closed the shutters of the balcony.) DESDE los balcones, sobre el portal oscuro, yo miraba con el rostro pegado a las barras frías; oculto tras las begonias, espiaba el movimiento de hombres cenceños. Algunos tenían las mejillas labradas por el grisú, dibujadas con terribles tramas azules; otros cantaban acunando una orfandad oculta. Eran hombres lentos, exasperados por la prohibición y el olor de la muerte. (Mi madre, con los ojos muy abiertos, temerosa del crujido de las tarimas bajo sus pies, se acercó a mi espalda y, con violencia silenciosa, me retrajo hasta el interior de las habitaciones. Puso el dedo índice de la mano derecha sobre sus labios y cerró las hojas del balcón lentamente.)
I call attention to these lines: Some had faces gouged by firedamp, etched with terrible blue threads; others sang to lull a hidden orphanity. Algunos tenían las mejillas labradas por el grisú, dibujadas con terribles tramas azules; otros cantaban acunando una orfandad oculta.
There is historical material with reference to el grisú – which Gamoneda situates in realtion to forced labor in the earliest days after the victory of Francos troops in the Spanish Civil War. That historical information is transformative. More transformative in my reading is the idea of orfandad. It seemed to me, although there is an entomological precedent, that I had to invent the word orphanity in order to get at that precise sense of identification with unhoused and unloved entrapment which is crucial to Gamonedas poem. My notion is that here, the words and their sounds are crucial to history and language and pose therefore demand for translation. Consider also my choice of the English word lull and how its sounds find resonance in the Spanish. Algunos tenían las mejillas labradas por el grisú, dibujadas con terribles tramas azules; otros cantaban acunando una orfandad oculta. I will leave you here to contemplate how each of us stand before the realities of the languages that we know and how they pose the essential matter of translatability.