All About Books discussion

29 views
The Monday Poem > Seasonal Theme - Latin American poetry

Comments Showing 1-23 of 23 (23 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7684 comments Mod
Our theme for July - September 2016 will be Latin American poetry. There so many gifted poets from this region, Pablo Neruda, Octavio Paz, and many others.

Our specific focus for this theme is the Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral.
Discussion on that particular poet can be found here:
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


message 2: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments Great choice for a theme Greg!


message 3: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments Great, I will plunder my library of it's Latin American poets ;)
Greg, shall we maybe link to this thread in the first comment of the Gabriela Mistral discussion thread as well?


message 4: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7684 comments Mod
Jenny wrote: "Great, I will plunder my library of it's Latin American poets ;)
Greg, shall we maybe link to this thread in the first comment of the Gabriela Mistral discussion thread as well?"


Good idea Jenny - done! :)


message 5: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7684 comments Mod
Leslie, if you get a chance, can you post a link to the Paz translated by Rukeyser you read? I'm eager to read that one!


message 6: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments Greg wrote: "Leslie, if you get a chance, can you post a link to the Paz translated by Rukeyser you read? I'm eager to read that one!"

Sure thing! Here it is:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23...


message 7: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments I picked up two books for this theme:

Three Hundred Poems, 1903-1953 by Juan Ramón Jiménez (born in Spain, lived for many years in Puerto Rico)

and Selected Poems of Gabriela Mistral, translated by Doris Dana


message 8: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7684 comments Mod
Leslie wrote: "Greg wrote: "Leslie, if you get a chance, can you post a link to the Paz translated by Rukeyser you read? I'm eager to read that one!"

Sure thing! Here it is:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2..."


Thanks Leslie!!


message 9: by Gill (new)

Gill | 5720 comments I'm thinking I'll be starting with Pablo Neruda, but I'm hoping to read some other poets as well.


message 10: by Gill (new)

Gill | 5720 comments I might look at this book at some stage Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry: A Bilingual Anthology.


message 11: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7684 comments Mod
Gill wrote: "I might look at this book at some stage Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry: A Bilingual Anthology."

That looks great Gill! I've heard of many of the names mentioned but by no means all - a great way to learn of some of the lesser known poets in particular!

I have a book by Neruda that I've bought long ago but not yet read - I will probably read that one first (after I finish the three I bought by Mistral). Also I'll probably re-read some books I have on my shelf thst I read years ago. But later in the season I'd love to branch out more if I can find a book like this at the library.


message 12: by Gill (new)

Gill | 5720 comments I'm reading some poems by Rubén Darío on poemhunter. There are some real problems with some of the poems. In the poem 'The Three Wise Men', some of the problem comes from trying to translate a rhyming poem in Spanish into a rhyming poem in English.

Here's an example of how this contorts the language.
A literal translation of one line from the Spanish is:

'And in its place there is melancholy'

And here's the translation in the English rhyming version

'And joy is shadowed by a threatful pall'

I need to look to see if I can find a better translation than these.


message 13: by Gill (new)

Gill | 5720 comments This exemplifies for me Pablo Neruda's beautiful ability with language

From Poem 15 ofTwenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair

'You are like my soul, a butterfly of dream.'


message 14: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments Gill wrote: "I'm reading some poems by Rubén Darío on poemhunter. There are some real problems with some of the poems. In the poem 'The Three Wise Men', some of the problem comes from trying to t..."

He's a name I am unfamiliar with despite the fact that he seems to have had great influence on Spanish literature. Re the translation.
This is always the struggle in translating isn't it? I've come realize that if something needs to be slightly lost in translation I rather have it be the form than the essence of language and nuance of meaning which so often so case if you want to transfer rhyme into rhyme in another language. Did you find another translation by him?


message 15: by Gill (new)

Gill | 5720 comments No I didn't, Jenny. I found a general book on South American poets, but the translation there seemed rather free ranging.

So I moved on to Neruda. Oh yes, and an extra book by Gabriela Mistral. I read 4 or 5 different translators of her work. We had quite a discussion about this on her seasonal poet thread.

Yes, in general I'd also settle for language and nuance over rhyme.


message 16: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments Jenny wrote: "This is always the struggle in translating isn't it? I've come realize that if something needs to be slightly lost in translation I rather have it be the form than the essence of language and nuance of meaning which so often so case if you want to transfer rhyme into rhyme in another language..."

I guess that I agree . But having to lose either is one reason that poetry is considered so difficult to translate, not so? The poetry I like best has strong rhyme and rhythm so in translated works I am always wondering if I am missing that.


message 17: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7684 comments Mod
Leslie wrote: "I guess that I agree . But having to lose either is one reason that poetry is considered so difficult to translate, not so? The poetry I like best has strong rhyme and rhythm so in translated works I am always wondering if I am missing that. ..."

My feeling is that a good translation is a separate piece of art that's close to but not the same as the piece of art of the original poem.

I love this quote from the gorgeously written but harrowing book Fugitive Pieces. The writer Anne Michaels is a poet as well as a novelist, and the novel reads a lot like poetry. Here is what her character (a poet) says about translating poetry in chapter 4:

"Reading a poem in translation is like kissing a woman through a veil .... Translation is a kind of transubstantiation; one poem becomes another. You can choose your philosophy of translation, just as you choose how to live, the free adaptation that sacrifices detail to meaning, the strict crib that sacrifices meaning to exactitude. The poet moves from life to language. The translator moves from language to life. Both like the immigrant try to identify what's invisible, what's between the lines, the mysterious implications."


message 18: by Gill (new)

Gill | 5720 comments Thanks, Greg. Food for thought in your quote.


message 19: by Jenny (last edited Sep 22, 2016 12:08AM) (new)

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments I love Anne Michaels, and that quote makes a lot of sense to me. Reading Rilke in English this year has made it even more clear to me why so often translators of poetry are poets themselves. The translation I've read sometimes had to move quite far away from the original in order to stay close if that makes any sense. I imagine if its impossible to transfer every nuance, every choice of style and form, every word and every bit of atmosphere and hidden hint, translators will go for what they perceive as the essence or the invisible glue of the poem, which is (I remember our Akhmatova season) quite different depending on the translator. In a way translated poem is always a new poem, and in the case of Rilke I bizarrely sometimes even preferred the "new" poem to the original.


message 20: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7684 comments Mod
Jenny wrote: "I love Anne Michaels, and that quote makes a lot of sense to me. Reading Rilke in English this year has made it even more clear to me why so often translators of poetry are poets themselves. The tr..."

Definitely Jenny! I completely agree about sometimes having to move far away from the original to stay close and what you say about the essence or invisible glue. That makes perfect sense to me!


message 21: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments Greg, I know it's slightly off topic in this thread but did you read her The Weight of Oranges / Miners Pond / Skin Divers: Poems?


message 22: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7684 comments Mod
Jenny wrote: "Greg, I know it's slightly off topic in this thread but did you read her The Weight of Oranges / Miners Pond / Skin Divers: Poems?"

No, but I definitely want to! I just read Fugitive Pieces earlier this year and I loved it.


message 23: by Gill (new)

Gill | 5720 comments I'm pleased we're carrying on with this theme for the next season. It will give me a chance to follow up some other poets.


back to top