Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Proofreading Sequenza

The stages for me in a translation process of poetry are manifold: reading the text through, talking to the poet, do a first translation, noting alternatives, problems unsolved at that moment and sending the text to the poet if s/he knows the target language. Then think to through the remarks of the poet and making a clean copy with just very few options still open. It is always about the right word, rhythm and meaning. Then we read through the text together, discuss the merits of each choice and reach a conclusion together. It is obvious that the end result should be a poem, mirroring the original in its new cloak, in the other language.

After the work is  done there are cookies and coffee and chatting and walking through the marvelous garden of the poet...

The first  poems I read written by Marleen De Crée was  the book 'Brieven aan Plinius' from which an example follows:

ik zeg je, Plinius, het is september.
de dichters keren in ’t getij.
vruchten rijpen aan de warme muren,
vergeet dat niet: het zijn de laatste uren

van de zomer. warmte, niets kan nog gebeuren.
het zijn de stille dagen van het jaar,
want alles wordt geduldiger gedragen
in veelvoud van de laatste dracht.

september weet wat dierbaarheid betekent
en liefde tekent schaduwen van was.
ik zeg: voorzichtigheid werd ooit berekend

aan de contouren van een waterglas.
de druiven, Plinius, de laatste schragen
van wat een dichterzomer was.

I tell you, Plinius, it is September
poets turn in the tide.
fruit ripens on warm walls,
don’t forget: these are the last hours

of summer. warmth, nothing can happen still.
it are the quiet days of the year,
because more patiently all is carried
in multiples of the last gestation.

September knows what fondness means
and love draws shadows of wax.
I say: once prudence was calculated  

by the outline of a water glass.
the grapes, Plinius, the last trestles
of what a poet’s summer was.

This is the first poem in the upcoming bilingual book 'sequenza', published by world internet books

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