Wednesday, December 27, 2006

American Cheek

He mapped three things inside the skin:
Severed evensong, old peacock eyes
bathed in raspberries, marble lives
joined by tears. She dreamed
the falling tea, a hysterical mouth,
the strength of women’s hands
and I, half-opened, approached me.

--Tony Hoffman

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

fuseferakhmat 1

I loved three shining things
The marble head in my hands white
Peacocks and white women silent
I look in their eyes neither open nor
Closed coming out of the dream
I hear hysterical women and
Children crying I don’t have
Anymore strength.

--Lydia Cortes

Friday, December 15, 2006

Snovum Godum!

I wanted to remind everyone that we don't have class next week or the week following. Our next (and last) two classes will be January 4th and January 11th.

On January 4th, we'll look at Borges and Rosa, so bring any Spanish or Portuguese dictionaries you happen to find at the library or on your bookshelves.

And on January 11th, we're going to assemble a chapbook of our translations! It's tentatively titled "Noitalsnart," and if you figure out why, you win one of the undersugared gingerbread men cookies I brought in last night.

You should bring 30 copies of whatever poem or translation you would like to include in the chapbook. Bring however many pages/poems you like, as long as you've got 30 copies of each page. I'll be designing the cover, which will incorporate a letter from the alphabet of each language we've dabbled in this fall. And Lydia already designed the frontispiece, with her fabulous phonetic translations of the Russian we did last night.

Now you're probably wondering why you should bring in 30 copies when there's only 10 people in the class. That's because the Workshop Reading is on Friday, February 2nd, at 9:30 pm (in the Parish Hall) and we want to have the chapbook there, plus give a few copies to the Poetry Project staff.

Tony, Phyllis, Lydia and I are going to be posting our Seferis/Akhmatova fusion poems here sometime soon, so keep checking in. Also, you'll see below that Nina posted our Seferis translation, along with the original translation.

We learned a new form last night, courtesy of Tony, which you may want to try your hand at during the next two weeks.


A seven-line form that Akhmatova inspired with her poem "He loved..."
The first three lines introduces three concepts.
The next three lines introduce three different concepts.
The last line is the "kicker."

Lydia just sent this link:

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Comparison of our two translations

Remember the baths that killed you

I woke up with this marble head in my hands
that exhausts my elbows and I don't know where to
put it.

It was falling into the dream as I was coming out of the dream
that's how our lives united and it will be hard to
separate again.

I look at the eyes; neither open nor closed
I speak to the mouth that is constantly attempting to speak
I hold the cheeks that project from the skin.
I don't have any more strength;

my hands disappear and return

Remember the baths where you were murdered

I woke up with this marble head in my hands;
it exhausts my elbows and I don't know where to
put it down.

It was falling into the dream as I was coming out of the dream
so our life became one and it will be very difficult
for it to separate again.

I look at the eyes : neither open nor closed
I speak to the mouth which keep trying to speak
I hold the cheeks which have broken through the skin.
That’s all I’m able to do.

My hands disappear and come towards me

Monday, December 11, 2006

the holidays

Hi everyone,
Our schedule is a little wonky because of the holidays, so I wanted to post when our next few meetings are (and aren't) going to be.

OK, we agreed that we're not meeting 12/21 or 12/28, so after our class this Thursday (the 14th), our next class will be January 4th. Since I missed a class in October, this means our last class will be pushed two more weeks, with the workshop ending January 18th. I'm not sure the Poetry Project will be able to accommodate us (since the class is supposed to end Jan. 4th), but we'll work out something if not.

This Thursday, we're going to work on Russian translations brought in by Tony, and also look at some non-linguistic (or at least nonhuman) translations of flowers by Paula Claire. Then after our long holiday, we'll be looking at Borges brought in by Andres (if you weren't in class last week to get the handout, let me know and I'll bring in extra copies this Thursday).

See you all soon!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Bad French!

Hi all,

That was another fun class on Thursday. Just to catch up Phyllis, Gail and Susana, we looked at an essay by U Sam Oeur's translator about what it was like to translate Oeur's Cambodian into English ("French bad" became "the French colonialists" or something like that) and tried to rewrite a few of the lines ourselves. Then Rachel Levitsky visited for the second half of the class and talked about translating Zhang Er's poetry. Since Rachel doesn't speak Chinese, Zhang first did the rough, literal translation and then Rachel translated it into the finished poetry, which naturally led to questions about what poetry is or what makes poetry. Shanxing read some of the original in Chinese so we could compare sounds, and then we also talked about how "god" is translated between the two languages, which was absolutely fascinating.

Anyway, for next week, we decided that we really need to finish that Seferis poem, so we're going to focus on that. Rachel may visit again, as we left the "god" question somewhat hanging and didn't get to Zhang's prose poems. Andres is also going to bring in Borges (I think?), so we can also begin those if we have time.

OK, see you all in a few days!