[lit-ideas] Re: Poetry x 2 = Sabbatical

  • From: JimKandJulieB@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2006 12:04:50 EDT

There was a Russian poem I stumbled across 7 or 8 years ago and I cannot  for 
the life of me remember either the poem's title or the author.  But  after 
some searching I the net I found 5 different translations of it.   They were 
vastly different.  It's my thinking that poetry cannot be  translated, though 
prose  can, at least more clearly &  accurately.  I have some vague notions 
about why but have not been able to  pin them down.  Perhaps the author's 
intent in prose is more clear than the  author's intent in poetry.  Perhaps 
relies so heavily on metaphor  and symbolism that another language's words for 
those metaphors and symbolisms  mean something different.  Perhapas it has a 
lot to do with  cadence.....
Julie Krueger

========Original  Message========     Subj: [lit-ideas] Re: Poetry x 2 = 
Sabbatical  Date: 10/15/2006 10:37:58 A.M. Central Standard Time  From: 
_aamago@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx (mailto:aamago@xxxxxxxxxxxxx)   To: 
(mailto:lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx)   Sent on:    
I wonder if one of the reasons Wordsworth lends  himself so well to parody,
and perhaps to translation, is because his poetry  is so straightforward.

For John, I don't speak a word of German, but,  over the years I've intuited
that German and Russian are closer syntactically  and stylistically than
English and Russian.  I once heard Joseph  Campbell give the direct
translation into English of the German version of  "The owl of Minerva flies
at night" and it sounded much more Russian than  English to me.  More
flourishy, less austere (although in this case I  prefer the English).  Like
German,  Russian has a tendency to  synthesize words.  One thing I do
appreciate about Russian (other than  being generally crazy about it), is
its reduced reliance on Latin, using  'self' instead of 'auto' for example. 
Russian, like German and most  languages nowadays, has absorbed huge
quantities of English words.  In  the movie Syriana, I noticed the Arabic
for remote control is "remote  control".  I've been busy lately, and again
today, so I haven't been  able to find the "to be or not to be" speech in
Russian on the  Internet.  Plus I don't have a Russian keyboard, but I'll
find it  eventually.

For Stan, religions are fraught with gods/God having sex with  mortals.  The
whole idea of the Virgin Birth is union of God and man,  although that's
only spiritual.  I don't know the Jewish religion well  enough to know if it
has any, but even if it doesn't, it has enough events  that require willing
suspension.  As Joseph Campbell says, the myth is  the other guy's religion.

I saw a good movie last night,  Frances.   The true story of actress Frances
Farmer.  Well  worth watching.  1982 with Jessica Lange and Sam Shephard.   

> [Original Message]
> From: Eric Yost  <eyost1132@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> To:  <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Date: 10/13/2006 8:01:49 PM
>  Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Poetry x 2 = Sabbatical
>   >>Mad Magazine had a parody of Wordsworth -- Once I 
> Wandered  Lonely As a Clod. Apparently I'm not the only one 
> at war with the  poetry of the Romantic period.
> It is The Long War. Here's my  salvo.
> I Wandered lonely As A  Crowd
> I wandered lonely as a crowd
> Only not so  big and not so loud,
> past smells that o'er stripmalls peak
> by an  Exxon station's toxic leak,
> When all at once I saw a cloud,
> A  deep black shroud of chemical fire;
> Beneath the pyre, a field of  tires
> Burning and smoking along the road,
> Continuous as the  flashing signs
> that keep a driver's path defined.
> Cars  stretched in a never-ending line
> some needing tune-ups, others to be  towed.
> Ten thousand I saw at a glance
> Angry drivers beside them  prance,
> Shaking their heads in a choleric rut,
> their cars  stalled, out of their minds:
> A poet could not but be reclined
> in  bucket seats, the windows shut:
> I gazed and gazed but little  thought
> What hazards to health the whole show brought:
>  For oft, when in my hospital bed I lie
> on respirator or in sedated  mood,
> I'm reminded by this lawyer guy
> of class-action suit and  those to sue;
> And then my heart with with pleasure glut
>  contemplates my rightful cut.
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