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

  • From: wokshevs@xxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2006 10:29:57 -0230

Who was it that said something to the effect of: "Poets are just philosophers
who have never learned to write or live clearly."?

Walter O.
Memorial U.

Quoting John Wager <john.wager1@xxxxxxxxxxx>:

> JimKandJulieB@xxxxxxx wrote:
> > 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 all vastly different.  It's my thinking 
> > that poetry cannot be translated, though prose  can, at least more 
> > clearly & accurately.
> I suspect that there are two connected problems. One is the translation 
> itself; of course one looses something.  But often, if the translator is 
> a poet, one gains something.  I first read Dante in the Chiardi 
> translation, which tried to keep some of the rhyme. 
> The second issue is that translators end up with different translations, 
> not just because translating is difficult, but because the original poem 
> is opaque.  It's not the translator's problem, it's the poem's problem. 
> Poems can mean as many things even in the original language as they can 
> mean in different translations; the translations simply reveal the 
> ambiguities more clearly. Prose is typically more precise and less 
> opaque, so it's easier to translate. 
> >   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 poetry 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
> -- 
> -------------------------------------------------
> "Never attribute to malice that which can be     
> explained by incompetence and ignorance."        
> -------------------------------------------------
> John Wager                john.wager1@xxxxxxxxxxx
>                                    Lisle, IL, USA

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