Ahmad Shamlu discussion


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message 1: by Gary (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:05PM) (new)

Gary | 7 comments i don't know farsi


the new edition in english language of shamlu's love poems ... uses the word "nocturnal" (adjective) as title (of poem, which, as we know is also a series of poems by shamlu)

it seems to me it should be "nocturne"


because that's the title for musical pieces which chopin used, which shamlu listened to and was fond of — the poems seem to reflect that influence -- and seems more like a servicable title for poem(s), (a noun, rather than an adjective) as being more extensive, general, whereas nocturnal seems more limiting, specific.

but, again, i don't know farsi

i'm only a poet who has "polished" poetry from other languages, working with native speakers.

i'd be more than glad to polish a favorite poem or two of shamlu's with anyone here who might wish to do so

i've suggested this at shelfari, and there is a member there who seems interested in collaborating on translating one poem

it is a shame, in my opinion, that so little of shamlu's work is available (as yet) in the english language, altho' that is not the world: there is also african, norwegian, danish, korean, etc.



message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

I found only one book:

The love poems of Ahmad Shamlu by Firoozeh Papa-Matin; poems translated by Firoozeh Papa-Matin & Arthur E. Lane.- Bethesda, Md: IBEX Publishers, c2005.

I searched in Shamlu's translated poems. everybody used "nocturnal" which i think that's right, because Shamlu never mentioned that he was inspired by chopin in this poem.

message 3: by Gary (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:07PM) (new)

Gary | 7 comments that's the book ... it's listed here in good reads.

(where did i read that shamlu loved chopin? "influence" is of course a multi-layered phenomena)

anyway, i'd still prefer the noun to the adjective, even if shamlu wasn't mad about chopin, because, although it seems like only a shade of difference, and still within the same meaning, the noun seems far more appropriate as a title for a work of art, and even more for a series of works of art ... like ode or elegy ... ghazal ... etc.

and the fact that everybody has used something doesn't argue in its favor in my book: one of the jobs of a translator is to "make it new," as ezra pound paraphrased confucius. otherwise there would be only translation of hafiz or homer. great works need reexamination by every generation.

message 4: by Gary (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:07PM) (new)

Gary | 7 comments "argavaan" i'd translate as "argavaan"

that is, it is untranslatable (although there are words in english, but none have the resonance it has in its original language)

the question is how would the poem speak in another language, if it could ... if it could be written anew in that language ...

and i find the answer is a delicate balance between saying what the poems says (word for word, paraphrase) and saying what the poem means (finding equivalences in the "new" language)

literary translation, that is: making a work of art that can stand on its own in the "new" language

message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

translating a poem,as you could well undrestand,is a very complicated process.translator must conect the feeling of two nations with two different languges and different ideology and different hopes and different wills and...tarnslating the word "argavaan" is not so difficult,as you said,you can notice it in feuilleton as "some kind of flower"!

نازلی ! بهار خنده زد و "ارغوان" شکفت .

در خانه ، زير پنجره گل داد ياس پير.

دست از گمان بدار !

با مرگ نحس پنجه ميفکن !

بودن به از نبود شدن ، خاصه در بهار

dear gary...I'm so sorry for you,so sorry becouse you don't know farsi and so sorry for my self,I don't know other alive languages in world,languages that is full of words we here as "argavaan" but in a poem it is a wide wing carry you floating in smooth ocean of feelings.there are those who try to translate poems as like as Shamlu.in fact that is a very very nice difficult job and also devotional,but...
I hope a day you could whisper this unparalleled poem of Shamlu in farsi...

message 6: by Gary (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:14PM) (new)

Gary | 7 comments dear mohsen

>tarnslating the word "argavaan" is not
so difficult,as you said,you can notice it in feuilleton as "some kind of flower"!

ah, but one cannot say "some kind of flower."

(try substituting the word "rose" in shakespeare for "some kind of flower")

there are english equivalents, but the associations with argavaan are so deep that no other word would do, and so i'd use argavaan, with a footnote (rather than, say, "judas flower" which gets into the story of jesus, etc)

by the way, i've published 2 books of translations of poetry, from korean, and several translations of poetry from chinese in magazines.

i don't have a farsi friend to translate your middle paragraph for me ... i'll have to find one...


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

dear gary
that middle paragraph is some part of a poem of shamlu.the word highlighted in " " is "argavaan".
we are both agree about case discused.I know,as I said,the translation is the only possible way to export word(hope I could found some better word insted "word")or poem or anything from a languge to other.and the disaster is here:the only possible way!this is not the ideal way.it is not possible to all to learn all other languges but it is ideal.
about the word "argavaan",I notice it as an example.let me try to translate one line of middle paragraph above to declar what I mean,
نازلی ! بهار خنده زد و "ارغوان" شکفت
نازلی:'naazli';a name for girls that is a two part word,"naaz" and "li",search result for naaz in dictionary:love - airs, mincing air, affected or lackadaisical manners,coquetry
"li" is a suffix.it aggravates the kind and love exist in word.in the first line shamlu calls naazli and tells here:
بهار خنده زد و "ارغوان" شکفت
بهار:'bahaar',means spring,season begins with april.
خنده زد:''khande zad';a two part verb "khande"+"zad","khande" is a noun means laughter,smile."zad" is a verb,usually exploit to creat combine verbs.verbs like "dar zad" means knocking the door.but the point poet used is the verb "javaane zad" means sprout.
so poet brings two maning of laughing and sprouting for spring with an special skill that images the best imagine of penetration or coming of spring.for example in my imagination the spring comes with blooms and buds on branchs all smiling.
then the poet connects cheering up of "argavaan" to previous part of poem.
ارغوان شکفت:means argavaan cheered up.
I like to get back to my imagination,the spring comes with blooms and buds on branchs all smiling wow..look at here such a beautiful argavaan bloom.

dear gary,
I hope with this try you undrestand what I mean about "translation of a poem" and I'll be so glad if I have your idea about what I said.

message 8: by Gary (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:18PM) (new)

Gary | 7 comments thank you
nima & moshen

across the barrier of language, we are communicating and this is wonderful (no?!)

— i confess, however, one sentence which i cannot understand, try as I may: "Poem is a conversation between tourcher and silence of vartan that is replace by poet's manifest" — i don't know what "tourcher" refers to ... and, is that conversation between this tourcher and vartan/nazli's silence replaced by a manifesto?

anyways, for your possible interest only, here's the translation i've found in english, which surely needs tremendous polishing before it could "fly" in a new language.

The Death of Nazli

“Nazli! Spring smiled and the love tree blossomed.
At home, the old jasmine has bloomed beneath the window.
Abandon your hesitations!
Don't go claw to claw against sinister death!
Being is better than perishing, better still in spring … ”

Not a word did Nazli utter,
Remaining patient
Before anger
And fatigue
Then went away…

“Nazli! Say something!
In its nest, the bird
Of silence has hatched
The tragedy of death!"

Not a word did Nazli utter,
But like the sun
Rose in darkness,
Set in blood,
Then went away …

Not a word did Nazli utter,
Nazli was a star,
Shone in this darkness
A moment,
And went away…

Not a word did Nazli utter.
Nazli was a violet,
Bloomed -- an
Omen “Winter has been
Broken!” –
went away …

message 9: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 12, 2007 07:20AM) (new)

dear Gary
if you really intrested in Shamlu never read this translation again,such a tragedy.if you really want literature to stay alive.
translator is not who could speak two language.I'm sure you are agree with me when I say translator must be able to think and talk about the literature of a language as a master of university before he try to translate.I swear the translator of your book is an iranian that he is living in U.S. for some years,otherwise he never translate "دست از گمان بدار " to "Abandon your hesitations!".in addition,to translate a poem you must be poet.however,I am ready to translate words in poems you like with due attention to poem,even I'm ready to teach you farsi!just I'm begging you do not read that again.

message 10: by Gary (last edited Dec 26, 2007 07:42PM) (new)

Gary | 7 comments [ scratched ]

message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

this is Arab's eid.we are persian.

message 12: by Gary (new)

Gary | 7 comments thank you for correcting me.

i only know nawruz: if you ever see a good list of important persian days of the year, i'd be grateful if you might share it. thank you.

now, after the solstice, with each day we gain light in many many ways. wishing each of you the light in life.


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

thank you for your shining wish.
the eid you noticed is muslem's eid.so it is our eid too.but after the revolution in 1979,the government tried to remove any signs of royalty from minds and replace muslem eids!but they combined the royalty and traditional manners and...however,the celedrations from ancient iran that are still alive here are yalda,char shanbe souri and nawruz.
yalda is the longest night of year,the last night of autumn.char shanbe souri is the last wednesday of year and nawruz is the first day of spring and ofcourse year.
there is so much celebrations that are forgotten as like as Mehregan (some celbration like valentine),Espandan,amerdad and...
this is an uncomfortable story.

message 14: by Amir (new)

Amir | 3 comments hi mr gary,
i love u because u know shamlo better than iranians,

message 15: by Amir (new)

Amir | 2 comments hi where are u from?
i love u too my fiend

message 16: by Shima (new)

Shima | 1 comments Amir wrote: "hi where are u from?
i love u too my fiend"

Hi dear friend, I'm Shima from Iran, Tehran

message 17: by Amir (new)

Amir | 2 comments Shima wrote: "Amir wrote: "hi where are u from?
i love u too my fiend"

Hi dear friend, I'm Shima from Iran, Tehran"

salam manam irani hastam
from miyaneh

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