Transference Vol. 4, Fall 2016

Transference, Feb 2017

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Transference Vol. 4, Fall 2016

Transference Vol. 4, Fall 2016 Part of the Classical Literature Philology Commons East Asian Languages Societies Commons European Languages Societies Commons French Francophone Language Literature Commons German Language Literature Commons Modern Languages Commons Modern Literature Commons Near Eastern Languages Societies Commons Poetry Commons Reading Language Commons the Translation Studies Commons Follow this and additional works at: http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/transference - Vol. 4 Fall 2016 scholarworks.wmich.edu/transference ISSN (online): 2325-5099 © Transference 2016 Cover image © Sarah Katharina Kayß Globe image © Don Hammond/Design Pics/Corbis Department of World Languages and Literatures College of Arts and Sciences Western Michigan University An Annual Publication of the Department of World Languages and Literatures at Western Michigan University Volume IV 2016 David Kutzko Contents Slow Jazz by Ashraf Zaghal Recklessness by Ashraf Zaghal Nightmares by Ashraf Zaghal Void by Ashraf Zaghal Hyacinthus Meredith White Egret by Li Bai Samuel N. Rosenberg Ballad 114 by Charles d’Orléans Rondeau 44 by Charles d’Orléans Chanson 53 by Charles d’Orléans David Radavich Sonnet 19 by Rainer Maria Rilke Houssem Ben Lazreg Elaine Wong Five Rings by Chen Li Madeleine McDonald Puzzle by Viviane Mellerio-Grasser A Woman Moving Within Me by Nizar Qabbani v Doug Slaymaker Ferns by Kaneko Mitsuharu Andrew Gudgel George Held Staying Again at Youqi Temple by Yao Nai The Peaks Along the River are Green by Zhang Dai Latin Flattery (C.IX.91) by Martial Carol Hayes and Rina Kikuchi My Daughter’s Room by Ishikawa Itsuko Stone Monument by Ishikawa Itsuko Girl 2 by Ishikawa Itsuko Siobhan Meï Paul Shlichta Goro Takano Like a Dream by Abd Al Malik Disintegrated by Abd Al Malik The Alchemist by Abd Al Malik Alas, Posthumus (Odes II.14) by Horace An Autumn Torso by Shiro Murano A Fish in Adolescence by Shiro Murano A Night Canal by Shiro Murano A Small Civilization by Shiro Murano Notes on Contributors iv Transfec 30 41 41 44 46 47 49 57 57 60 63 68 69 70 71 74 Sometime in the 8th century B.C., Hesiod was shepherding his lambs on the slopes of Mount Helicon when he found the Muses. Or rather, they found him. The nine goddesses “breathed (enepneusan) into me a divine voice, so that I might sing of the future and the past, and they ordered me to hymn the race of the blessed immortals, but to sing always of themselves first and last” (Theogony, lines 31–34). The Greek verb empneo, like the Latin inspiro, literally means “to breath in,” so the Muses in this passage are literally the goddesses of Inspiration. While we are invited to read Hesiod’s encounter with the Muses as literal, the Muses’ lineage suggests a metaphorical reading as well. The Muses’ mother is Mnemosyne, which in Greek means “Memory.” In Greek mythology there is a distinction between real gods, who are worshipped and have temples dedicated to them, and personifications like “Sleep” and “Strife.” “Memory” is one such personification. What does it mean for the goddesses of Inspiration to be the daughters of Memory? Or for a more readily answerable question, what does it mean for our inspiration to be the product of our memory? “Memory” is a goddess and therefore external, but “memory” is internal, namely the mental faculty for recollection. The Muses are divine, but “inspiration” that is the product of our brain is actually our own human imagination. Before the Muses “inspire” Hesiod, they say something quite odd: “We know how to speak many believable lies and we know how, when we wish, to utter the truth” (lines 27–28). At the literal level, the Muses order Hesiod to repeat whatever they tell him; he will not know when they are lying or telling the truth. If he tells multiple versions of stories about the gods, as indeed he does, he can blame the Muses for changing their story. At the metaphorical level, however, where inspiration is the spark to poetic creativity in his brain, he is giving free license to his own imagination. Like the best poetry, the literal and metaphorical do not contradict each other, but provocatively coexist. Anyone who has stared at a blank piece of paper for an hour (or a day or a week) knows that when that “aha!” moment hits and the pencil almost starts to move on its own, the feeling can be an out-of-body experience. Hesiod, at the beginning of the Western literary tradition, perfectly sums up the creative process: a combination of the human imagination and magical inspiration that is beyond ourselves. This passage is profound for many reasons. It shows that the creative process and, in particular, the human conception of poetry, has not changed over the centuries—through distance and time, we are all connected. That we have the proof of Hesiod’s encounter with the Muses is in itself amazing, and due entirely to the art of translation. As we have discussed in the forewords to our other volumes, “translation” and “transference” come from the same Latin verb transfero. A translation is something that has gone through the action of being transferred from one medium to another. The Theogony was first v transferred from oral communication to the written text, and then translated from culture to culture, language to language, and century to century. The translations in this volume on a smaller scale perform the same miracle of communication across time and space. And just like the originals themselves, poetic translation depends on the Muses, the daughters of Memory. Some 2600 years after Hesiod, Jacques Prévert, in his poem, “Pour faire le portrait d’un oiseau,” expressed the creative process with a similar mix of the literal and the metaphorical. The way to paint a picture of a bird, he says, is to paint an inviting background and a birdcage on a canvas, to lean the canvas on a tree, and then to wait for the bird to hop into the cage. He instructs to wait as long as it takes, years if necessary, for the bird to appear. If and when the bird comes, the artist must wait for the bird to enter the cage, close the door with a brush, and then erase the bars of the cage one by one (attendre que l’oiseau entre dans la cage / et quand il est entré / fermer doucement la porte avec le pinceau / puis / effacer un à un tous les barreaux1). Like Hesiod, Prévert implies that the artist does not dictate what is made, but that the potential creation (the inspiration necessary to make the piece) dictates how the artist is to form it. A work of art manifests itself if the artist is patient enough. It is not created, but coaxed into appearing. Prévert’s striking vision is particularly relevant to the art of translation. The poem really does exist before the translator begins. The setting is the only variable the translator controls. What is the right diction, meter, and tone for the original poem to arrive on the page in another language? After Prévert has instructed the artist how to bring the bird into the cage and thus into the picture, he explains how to know if the picture will be a success: if the bird does not sing, it is a bad sign, but if it does sing, it is a good sign, a sign that all the painting needs is the artist’s signature, which he/she is to make with a feather from the bird (mais s’il chante c’est bon signe / signe que vous pouvez signer / Alors vous arrachez tout doucement / une des plumes de l’oiseau / et vous écrivez votre nom dans un coin du tableau2). When we and our referees pore over the submissions to Transference, this is what we look for: the bird to sing. The translations within these pages are poems in their own right because they let the originals sing with a new voice for a new audience. I am writing this at the end of November 2016, and I am reminded of the greatest poetic tenet, stretching at least as far back as Hesiod’s other great poem, the Works and Days, and his telling of the Pandora myth: no matter what happens, hope remains. As always, Molly Lynde-Recchia, my co-editor, and I thank the translators, the referees, our editorial board, and the many others at Western Michigan University who every year help us champion this tenet. All of the translations in this volume erase the bars so the bird may sing. David Kutzko, Co-Editor 1,2 Cited from Prévert’s collection Paroles (Gallimard, 1949), 155. vi Transfec The camel stopped at the old tavern’s door And asked for water and sand We gave him a bucket of water and a tequila shot And we recommended that he follow the Silk Road Where the sands do not end And where the she-camels are pure gold Ashraf Zaghal ¡wDÐ “Uł The camel is a jovial animal In some sense He walks as if he is dancing He moves his nose as if he has just swallowed a whole garden of cocaine The camel is a respectable animal You can see a bit of villainy in his eyes And a bit of pain But at the end of the day he is an esteemed and elegant Animal And a fitting theme for a poem written in an old tavern Ú5¹U u ÓWI¹ Ghada Mourad Recklessness Ashraf Zaghal ‚ÓeÓ½ -2The woman in her forties who visited me at midnight Could not leave the bed Her heart was tender As a snail in early spring My heart was dried up Like a passing shoe -3It was a few days After Christmas When I was thinking about what to do with the Christmas tree And the Christmas things Then this idea surprised me: Why does Santa bring all this fun But never comes back to collect his garbage? Nightmare 1 Patriotic poets Are eating a child In my bedroom Nightmares: ﺲﯿﻴﺑاﺍﻮﻛ Ashraf Zaghal Nightmares: ﺲﯿﻴﺑاﺍﻮﻛ   Nightmare 2 The grass on the riverbanks Ate the river’s frogs Not a single frog is left The grass is now a big frog That will devour me because I resemble the prophet’s horse Nightmare 3 There are five poems in my head And on the highway there are Five hundred cars The five poems are now left on the edge of the road Like squirrels with their stomachs ripped out Nightmare 4 Jerusalem’s demons Play Hamlet On the doorsteps of my house in Canada I am Hamlet Nightmare 5 Because the street is narrower than a girl’s waist I made love to the street Transfec Ghada Mourad Void Ashraf Zaghal ⁄«d Ashraf Zaghal belongs to a generation of Palestinian poets that has decided to be a voice of everyday life with its ups and downs, away from the serious and combative tone of poetry of the previous generation. Zaghal’s collection, A Desert in the Metro, brings many motifs from traditional Arabic poetry written in or about the desert into a modern city setting—symbolized in the title by metro. Hence, this collection mingles the ancient with the modern without claiming to root itself in the tradition of desert poetry. Rather, the presence of the traditional motifs signals at the same time a distance from them, afforded by the sarcastic tone as well as the playful, seemingly lighthearted diction. Furthermore, as Zaghal’s poetry claims to—and in fact does— distance itself from the previous generation of politically committed poetry, Palestine seeps through the poems in the form of fragments or snippets that illustrate the irreducible presence of the experience of displacement and landlessness that cannot be ignored or repressed, as in “Nightmare 6,” which represents one of the nightmares continually experienced by any Palestinian. Zaghal’s deceptively simple diction and his ironic tone constitute the main features of his poetry, and I tried to preserve the diction level as well as the irony. And of course the rhythm of the Arabic matches the tone and the themes. I did my best to maintain the rhythm in the poems. For the most part, translating Ashraf Zaghal’s poems has been a pleasurable process, particularly when felicitous alliterations or unexpected rhymes occur in the English, as in “Slow Jazz” where “sand, road, end, gold” have a slant rhyme that provides a kind of cohesion to the stanza. The main challenge for the translator comes from the fact that Zaghal’s diction in Arabic can be easily distinguished from Darwish’s or Zaptan’s, but in English the distinction is much subtler, mainly because English does not allow as much space for this diversity as Arabic does. Hence, a translator needs to be aware of the necessity to bring to the Anglophone reader this peculiar aspect of Zaghal’s poems. 6 Transfec Hyacinthus Meredith White Egret An egret skims over autumn waters, floating down singly, a flake of frost; its mind untroubled, it need not race, and stands alone by a sand-isle. Li Bai (or, in an older Romanisation, Li Po) 李白 (701–762) is considered by many (though not me) to be the greatest of all Chinese poets. Knowledge of several of his shorter poems is nearly universal among the literate Chinese population. Though “White Egret” is not among these most famous poems, it shares some of their characteristics: brevity, tonal and rhythmic regularity, vividness of image and adept use of figurative language. A great difficulty of translating traditional Chinese poetry in general, and the jueju (the form of this poem, four lines of five or seven syllables with the second and fourth lines rhymed) in particular, is that of conveying the compressed, often symbolic images while maintaining an easily flowing rhythm. I have been helped by the simplicity of “White Egret,” which is concerned principally with capturing a viewed moment in time and nature and is largely free of both abstruse allusions and meditations on contemporary or universal problems, though it may reflect the equanimity and eremitism that Li Bai sometimes achieved, or sometimes wanted to achieve, away from the ignoble strife of the imperial court. Nonetheless, my translation process was tortuous. I planned initially to render “White Egret” as a shape poem, emulating an egret floating down, but various attempts yielded no meaningful shape and detracted from the faithfulness and vividness of the translation. With inward relief, I returned to more familiar forms. That the poem has not (to my knowledge) been previously translated allowed me to forgo conscious innovation. The resulting translation was relatively spontaneous and conveys, I think, both the meaning and the sentiment of the original without being pedestrian. It is, however, not without craft. While I have not replicated the rhyme or the tonal and syllabic metre, I have tried with a natural English rhythm to convey something of the change from movement to tranquillity with more frequent stresses as the poem progresses. The long vowels at the end of the original, for example, are replicated in those of the last line of the translation, especially the spondee “sand-isle”; this and the words of the second line were arrived at after considerable editing. Samuel N. Rosenberg Ballad 114 Gazing out toward the country of France, It happened one day, at Dover by the sea, That I recalled the sweet pleasure That used to be mine in that land, And in my heart I started to sigh, So great was the comfort I found, To see the land that my heart truly loves. I realized then it was not very wise To keep such sighs stored in my heart, When I see that the way is now clear Toward good peace, which can benefit all. That thought turned concern into comfort, But still left my heart with a constant desire To see the land that my heart truly loves. Onto the ship of Hope I then loaded All of my wishes, bidding them sail Over the sea, with no stop or delay, To give my good greetings to France. God soon grant us good, lasting peace! If it so comes to pass, I’ll then be able To see the land that my heart truly loves. Peace is a treasure beyond facile praise. Warfare is hateful, and I value it not. War right or wrong has left me unable To see the land that my heart truly loves. Samuel N. Rosenberg Rondeau 44 The year has shed its old cloak Of wind, of cold, and of rain, And donned leaves bright as flame For its sunlit, stylish new coat. There’s no bird from whose throat We don’t hear this proclaimed: The year has shed its old cloak! Every river and spring, every moat, Is dressed in robes bright and gay, Silver and gold on display. Everyone’s clothed to evoke A year that’s shed its old cloak! Charles d’Orléans Rondeau 44 Samuel N. Rosenberg Chanson 53 Must we really lose our sight? Do our eyes no longer dare To gaze upon our object of desire? Disdain is quite a hostile lord, Insisting on enslavement of a lover. Will you let yourself be crushed, Love, and seek no remedy? Can no one stand against Disdain? Must we really lose our sight? Do our eyes no longer dare To gaze upon our object of desire? Our eyes are truly meant to serve And carry every pleasure back To hearts that feel no end of woe. Disdain attempts to close those eyes; Is it right to tolerate such spite? Must we really lose our sight? but they’ll still put your face in a square and from the beginning you’re the only one out of the loop Transfec and looked around with wide eyes at all the guys who had the same face and the same problems as you you wanted to see somethin’ beyond— to really see faces reflected back in the big mirror in the middle of the living room where the whole family sat pretendin’ to recognize one another and you finally saw in them who you were supposed to be you let your fists fly in their faces it really hurts, doesn’t it not to see your face when you look in the mirror. Siobhan Meï The Alchemist Abd Al Malik L'Alchimiste I was nothin,’ or somethin’ close to nothin’ I was vain and, well, that’s what was linin’ my pockets I was full of hate and ill at ease— a hate mixed with fear, ignorance I cried in pain, from this imbalance in my own existence I was dead and, hey, you brought me back to life I said “I have” or “I don’t have” and you taught me to say “I am” You told me “Black Arab White Jewish is to man what flowers are to water” ah Oh, you, the one I love, and, hey, you, the one I love I’ve crossed so many avenues, waitin,’ waitin’ for you That when I saw you, I didn’t know if it was you, if it was me, if it was you Oh, you, the one I love, I create your name In the desert of the cities I’ve known ‘Cause, I was sure of your existence, knew you’d hear me Hey, you, the one I love, Oh, you, the one I love I was nothin’, or somethin’ close to nothin’ I was vain and, well, that’s what was linin’ my pockets I was full of hate and ill at ease— a hate mixed with fear, ignorance I cried in pain, from this imbalance in my own existence I was dead and, hey, you brought me back to life I said “I have” or “I don’t have” and you taught me to say “I am” You told me “Black Arab White Jewish is to man what flowers are to water” ah Oh, you, the one I love, and, hey, you, the one I love Neither street nor struggle blocked me from your view Even at my lowest moment When I told myself all was lost I loved you as if I saw you ‘Cause even though I didn’t see you I knew you were seein’ me. Hey, you the one I love, You are a lion and your heart is a sun The ultimate savior of those lost in sleep And, hey, you, the one I love, Oh, you, the one I love I was nothin’, or somethin’ close to nothin’ I was vain and well, that’s what was linin’ my pockets I was full of hate and ill at ease— a hate mixed with fear, ignorance I cried in pain, from this imbalance in my own existence You are, you are the alchemist of my heart And, hey, you, the one I love, Oh you, the one I love And, hey, you, the one I love…1 1 Malik has performed The Alchemist on numerous television shows and at several music and spoken word festivals in France. My translation of L'Alchimiste locates itself at the crossroads of the textualized and performative versions of this piece. The music video for this poem is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLCg_ yXQcDE Abd Al Malik (born Régis Fayette-Mikano) is a French rapper, poet, novelist, filmmaker, and spoken word artist, whose writing and music address issues of religion, nationalism, and race. Born in 1975 in Paris, Malik’s family briefly returned to the Congo before settling in Strasbourg in the housing project of Neuhof, which serves as the backdrop for much of his earlier writing. In 1999 after founding the spoken word group, The New African Poets, Malik converted to Islam, a conversion that marked the beginning of a lifetime of advocacy for peace and unity among the diverse populations of France. His film Qu’Allah bénisse la France (based on his autobiography by the same title) was released in 2014. It is the performative nature of Malik’s work that formally poses the greatest challenge to the translator. Much of Malik’s poetry rings with an oral quality native to rap and spoken word— hesitations, silences, murmurs come together textually without losing their original connection to the microphone. In so many of the poems and short pieces in this collection, the texture of Malik’s voice is present; the rhythm with which he speaks, performs, belongs to the streets in Strasbourg he grew up on, his words come together as quickly and softly as they do violently. Though he doesn’t completely ignore grammatical conventions he does bend them, as we often do when we speak, revealing to what extent language becomes but one tool among many for telling one’s story. As a translator the oral quality of Malik’s poems proved difficult to capture. Not simply because I struggled to identify the relationship between utterance and text, but because of Malik’s awareness of the ideological implications of language. Though Malik does not hesitate to use the language and expressions of the immigrant and primarily black community he grew up in, he has made a name for himself in using this language to resist any kind of closed or permanent understanding of who he is. He doesn’t hesitate to quote Deleuze and Jay Z in the same sentence, to find poetry in the eyes of the dogs that roam his neighborhood. Malik’s work reveals that there are no rules in language nor in literature, but that disenfranchisement, racism, political corruption, and despair continue to diminish the voices of young, marginalized writers. Transfec Paul Shlichta Alas, Posthumus Alas, alas, my friend Posthumus, The fleeing years slip quickly by. No force or virtue can delay them— We must grow wrinkled, age, and die. Though you might sacrifice your oxen Three hundred daily, cease not your fears. You cannot sway relentless Pluto, Huge Geryon’s keeper, unlearned in tears. The dismal waters which confine Tityos, all of us must sail, Though we be kings or lowly peasants; No earthly gifts will then avail. Horace Eheu Fugaces (Odes II.14) In vain we flee from blood-drenched combat, Avoid the sea’s engulfing tides. In vain we shun the winds of autumn For fear their chill might harm our hides. Each in his turn must see Cocytos, Flowing black in stagnant coils, And meet the cursed spawn of Danaus And Sisyphus, damned to age-long toils. You’ll leave your lands, dear wife, and household, And though you briefly were the lord Of well-kept forests, none will follow Except the cypress—pyre wood! Quintus Horatius Flaccus, or “Horace” (65–8 BC) was the most popular lyric poet of the Augustan era. Though he wrote many longer and more serious poems, such as his epodes, satires, epistles, and Ars Poetica, he is most famous for his odes—short poems based on Greek models—which the contemporary rhetorician Quintillian thought the only lyrics in Latin worth reading. Horace’s odes are unique among Latin poems for their gentle lightheartedness. They sing the praises of everyday comforts, such as wine and good fellowship, and the follies of love. Their charm has endeared them to twenty centuries of readers, so that even in recent years, new translations into English free verse are still being published. As Spaeth put it: “no other [Latin] author has moved the pens of later poets so constantly to reproduction and imitation, none has sired so many parodies.” It is particularly significant that Horace’s odes have often been translated into rhymed verse, such as Franklin P. Adams’ translations of odes 8 and 38 of Book 1. Rhyming and meter, perhaps because of their obvious artificiality, tend to confer a lightness that free verse is seldom able to achieve; hence the popularity of limericks. But this approach usually forces the translator to pay the price of deviation from fidelity; he must omit or poorly translate a word in order to fit the meter or find an appropriate rhyme. It might be argued that this particular ode should not be so treated. It is almost unique among its fellows in being of a somber, almost morose mood, so that the lightness of rhyming might be inappropriate. But the translator had no choice; the meter and rhymes came unbidden. In the initial attempt at an exact prose translation, the first stanza seemed determined to frame itself into tetrameters, with “by” and “die” in rhyming positions. This fortuitous arrangement provided the inspiration for continuing in the same format. Although the ultimate aim was to achieve a verse translation that corresponded as closely as possible to the original Latin, the rhymed metric format forced several omissions and compromises. Since Latin is more compressed than English, it was necessary to omit one or two adjectives in each stanza. Some phrases, such as “whoever of us enjoys the gift of [life on] earth” in the third stanza, could not be persuaded to fit the format and had to be replaced by other phrases of similar mood. Repeated revisions left considerable debris, including alternative versions wherein fidelity to the original was relaxed for poetic considerations. For example, one might replace “friend” with “dear” in the first stanza, “age-long” with “endless” in the fifth, “briefly were” with “were awhile” in the sixth, and “lockedup” with “sealed up” in the seventh. The ultimate departure from fidelity was a loosely translated parody, in which the classical images were replaced by modern equivalents: J. P. Posthumus, ageing comrade, In not too long you’ll lose your hide; And all the Mayo Brothers’ clinics Can’t keep you from the Great Divide. Don’t think that charity donations Will help you when your time comes due. The Reaper is immune to bribing; He’s cut down bigger guys than you. You’re booked to sail on Charon’s ferry And can’t ignore the boarding call. You won’t be in a first-class cabin; It’s steerage deck for one and all. Don’t try go get a draft deferment; Or hug the shallows at the shore. Don’t hope that trips to spas and salons Will keep the Reaper from your door. We all must cross the river Jordan And walk the fiery floorless pit We’ll see where Lizzie Borden’s burning, Watch Adolph turning on a spit. You’ll leave your townhouse, private golf course, Your chorus girls in platinum fox, And all the lumber shares you’ve cornered Will merit you just one pine box. Your kids will swill your bonded bourbon And, dopes they are, dump down the sink Your scotch, the match of any bishop’s— The stuff you never lived to drink. The classical allusions are in some instances obscure. Geryon was a giant, variously described as having either three heads or three bodies. Tityos was another giant, the son of the Earth goddess, who was punished in Tartarus (for attempting to rape Leto) by having two vultures peck eternally at his liver. Cocytos was one of the five rivers encircling the underworld. Danaus instructed his fifty daughters, forced to marry their cousins, to kill their husbands on their wedding night; fortynine did so. Sisyphus, a greedy and cruel king, notorious for his trickery, was punished in Hades by being forced to roll uphill a huge bolder that always escaped him and rolled back down. In short, Eheu fugaces is filled with allusions to unpleasant characters and places and is pervaded by the somber inevitability of death. Nonetheless, like Horace’s other delightful odes, it will continue to inspire translators and parodists for centuries to come. Goro Takano An Autumn Torso Seen clearly inside A poison hemlock Is a ripe waist A twisted womb which Will remain sterile For good To whom in the world Will a disjointed arm Dedicate its momentary passion Without any change in its figure In the twilight where Existence has overcome A blood disease of humans And has developed its plumpness With a sense of nostalgia The fire of this ruinous autumn Moves from Wax trees to Sumac trees Transfec Goro Takano A Fish in Adolescence Until you’re pulled out of the water With the bleeding from your gills You are not a fish yet When, as if they want to say something Your eyes reflect the forest and the sky And when your tail and fins Start going into subtle spasm Death finally makes you fishy enough From an eternal distance Someone calls you In a small voice: “Thou fish”— What is your depressed shape for When your body is widely unfolded like a leaf And your backbone is revealed at last Neither memories nor language are left there Except a drop of something rotten which Makes a bride’s hands fishy enough Somewhere half-sleeping seagulls cry Small fish, swallowing tar Sometimes spring up painfully from the water And sink deep back into the water Shiro Murano 夜の運河 I’m talking not about the ocean But about a nameless river flowing at the bottom of the night Without its source and outlet It’s a river of destiny Where destiny remains stalled In the midst of the lukewarm mist Smelling of horses I can see a bloodshot light all through the night Staggering from behind the shade is A man of the past Out of his system, vomit and excrement spout profusely I’m now talking about a dormant gentle river Stagnating at the bottom of human consciousness Due to the residue of no-exit sins Goro Takano A Small Civilization Shiro Murano 小さな文明 From now on, at any rate The echoes of my spirit will have to be Crunched repeatedly with this gold-crowned stone-like substitute And I must survive with it a hunger like Christ’s An inlayed death A replaced life What kind of language will this mouth Continue to speak until the end of time I get up, finally And spit the bitter blood into a piece of enamelware The four poems I chose for my translation are originally included in On Lost Sheep (The Japanese original title is Boyo-ki or 亡羊 記) by Shiro Murano(村野四郎: 1901–75). Murano is one of the most influential poets of the Showaera Japan (1926–89). His early works were strongly influenced by surrealism, imagism and the German objectivism, while the poetry of his later years was marked by existentialism. The most puzzling for me in translating the first poem, “An Autumn Torso,” was how to finalize the order of the following three keywords in its last stanza: “twilight,” “existence,” and “nostalgia.” In fact, the arrangement of those words in the original last stanza can be literally translated as “the twilight of the nostalgia of existence.” However, I didn’t like this undue vagueness, so I managed to contextualize those keywords as much as I could, without falling into a superfluous deviation from the original’s basic atmosphere. When translating the second poem, “A Fish in Adolescence,” the very first obstacle for me was how to treat its title. The literal translation of the Japanese title might be “Youth’s Fish” or “A Fish of Adolescence.” But I chose the expression “in adolescence,” eventually, because it sounds the most natural to me. In addition, I first wondered about using the word “flat” (instead of the word “depressed”) for the Japanese adjective 偏 平な (henpei-na) in the last line of my translation’s third stanza. I picked the word “depressed” after all, because it seemed to reproduce better the subtle color of miserableness hanging around the fish in the original poem. I also needed to ponder for a while as to how to translate the direct address in the third stanza; the original doesn’t include any pronoun in it (only the word “fish” is used there), but I intentionally inserted the word “thou” into my translation, because it seemed fit for the particular voice reaching from “an eternal distance.” Intentionally again, I used the word “I” three times in my translation of the third poem, “A Night Canal,” though it doesn’t appear at all in the original. Other translators would choose not to feature this pronoun, but I thought the use of the first person necessary because (1) it would heighten the reader’s feeling of being in the poem’s strange world (2) it would boost the translation’s overall readability. In addition, I could not help wondering how to interpret Murano’s use of the word “no-exit” in the last stanza of the original. No-exit “river”? No-exit “residue”? Or no-exit “sins”? After much thought, I picked the third choice. I used the word “substitute” in the third line of the second stanza of the last poem, “A Small Civilization,” although it is not used in the original, where Murano merely says: “this goldcrowned stone.” My word choice should be justified, I believe, because it seems far better to show clearly in the translation that this “stone-like” thing is here a “substitute” of the wrenched-off tooth. In addition, the fourth line of the same stanza in the original contains another confusing issue: does it say “Christ’s own hunger” or “a hunger like Christ’s”? In the end, I selected the latter, which seemed more proper for the poet’s point of view. Houssem Ben Lazreg is currently a Ph.D. student and a teaching assistant for Arabic/French in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta in Canada. He was a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant of Arabic at Michigan State University from 2010–2011. He holds a Master of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from Nazareth College of Rochester. Houssem has also taught Arabic, French, and English at different American institutions such as West Virginia University and Indiana University in Bloomington. In addition to teaching foreign languages, Houssem has been working as a freelance translator. His latest publication is the Arabic translation of a novel titled Screwballs by Catherine Mardon. His research interests include politics and translation, Middle Eastern graphic novels, and Islamist militant movements. Andrew Gudgel received a B.A. in Chinese from The Ohio State University and an M.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John's College, Annapolis. He spent a decade-plus working for the U.S. government, mostly in U.S. embassies overseas, before becoming a freelance writer and translator. He is currently a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University. Carol Hayes is a senior lecturer in Japanese language and Japanese studies at the Australian National University, Australia. She has a Ph.D. in modern Japanese literature from the University of Sydney. Her research interests are broad, ranging from modern and contemporary Japanese literature and poetry to eLearning and Japanese teaching pedagogy. The poetry included here is part of the joint translation project of Japanese women’s poetry with Dr. Rina Kikuchi from Shiga University. George Held has translated more than 100 of Martial’s epigrams and published many of these translations in such journals as Circumference; Ezra; Natural Bridge; International Poetry Review; and Notre Dame Review, as well as in Martial Artist Transfec (Toad Press Translation Series, 2005). A ten-time Pushcart Prize nominee, he has published nineteen collections of his own poems, most recently in the chapbook Phased II (Poets Wear Prada, 2016). Rina Kikuchi is an associate professor at Shiga University, Japan, where she has been teaching English language, literature and cultural studies since 2003. She has a Ph.D. in contemporary Irish poetry from Chiba University, which included a period of research at Trinity College, Dublin; and an M.A. in comparative literary theories from University of Warwick, UK. Her research interests include comparative literature and translation studies, with a current focus on the translation of Irish poetry written in English into Japanese, and research into the poetry of Sagawa Chika as a part of her second Ph.D. on Japanese modanizumu poetry at Australian National University. The poetry included here is part of the joint translation project of Japanese women’s poetry with Dr. Carol Hayes from the Australian National University. At age 20, Madeleine McDonald fell into translation by accident. When she was a novice translator with no formal qualifications, her first boss insisted she read the King James Bible for ten minutes on arrival at work, to improve her English. This unorthodox training was successful and she later worked as a translator, editor and precis-writer for international organisations. She co-translated a legal textbook, Sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly Islands. Her own writing includes short stories, poetry and newspaper columns. Her third novel, A Shackled Inheritance, was published in 2016. Siobhan Meï is a Ph.D. student in Comparative Literature at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She received her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and her M.A. in Comparative Literature from La Sorbonne Nouvelle. Her translations and original poetry have appeared in carte blanche, The Adirondack Review, and Asymptote. Siobhan translates French, Haitian, and Belgian poetry and is currently co-translating a collection of poetry by North Korean defector Imu Baek. Her recent research projects use translation as a lens through which to consider the 2016 75 historical complexity and cultural specificity of the relationship between language and racial prejudice. Born in Shanghai, Hyacinthus Meredith currently lives in Sydney, Australia. His poetry has been published in Cordite Poetry Review, and his translations of poems from classical Chinese in Ezra and Clarion. He is currently working on articles on the poetry of A. E. Housman and the aesthetics of mathematical proof. Ghada Mourad is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of Comparative Literature and a Schaeffer fellow in literary translation at the University of California, Irvine. Her translations have appeared in Jadaliyya, Banipal, Al-Jadid, A Gathering of the Tribes, The Literary Review, The Common, The Denver Quarterly, Transference, Metamorphoses, The Missing Slate, and Shahadat, a project by ArteEast, among others. David Radavich has published seven poetry collections, including America Bound: An Epic for Our Time (2007), Canonicals: Love’s Hours (2009), and Middle-East Mezze (2011). His plays have been performed across the U.S., six of them off-Off-Broadway, and in Europe. His latest books are The Countries We Live In (2014) and a co-edited anthology called Magic Again: Selected Poems on Thomas Wolfe (2016). He is currently president of the North Carolina Poetry Society. Samuel N. Rosenberg, Professor emeritus of French and Italian at Indiana University, is a medievalist chiefly interested in textual edition of lyric poetry and in translation. A year ago, he wandered from Old French into Modern, publishing a translation of writings by Hector Berlioz, Berlioz on Music (Oxford UP, 2015; edited by Katherine Kolb). He also ventured far afield with lyric pieces translated from Gascon and Latin. His English verse rendering of the 13th-century romance, Robert le Diable, is now under review by a university press. Paul Shlichta received a Ph.D. in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology. He has since been a research scientist, consultant, associate editor of a technical journal, and on Transfec line journalist. His technical biography and bibliography can be found at http://www.crystal-research.com/about_page.htm. Most of his nontechnical articles can be found at http://www. americanthinker.com/author/paul_shlichta/. Doug Slaymaker is Professor of Japanese at the University of Kentucky. His translation, with Akiko Takenaka, of Furukawa Hideo’s Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure appeared in Spring of 2016. He is currently translating two novels of Kimura Yūsuke while completing a manuscript of animals in post-311 Japanese fiction. Born in the city of Hiroshima, Goro Takano (高野吾朗) is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Medicine at Saga University, Japan, where he teaches English and Japanese/Western literature. He obtained his M.A. in American Literature from the University of Tokyo and his Ph.D. in English Creative Writing from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. His novel With One More Step Ahead (2009), and his poetry collections Responsibilities of the Obsessed (2013) and Silent Whistle-blowers (2015) have all been published in the U.S. by BlazeVOX. Elaine Wong was born in Taiwan, raised in Hong Kong, and naturalized in Vancouver, British Columbia. She received a Ph.D. in English at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She entered the field of literary translation by way of her doctoral dissertation which explores the poetic creativity of the written sign with an emphasis on Chinese and English writing systems. She now teaches part-time at Trinity University, San Antonio while working on translation projects of poetry and fiction from Taiwan. Her poems, translations, and scholarly essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Exchanges, Grey Sparrow, International Poetry Review, L2, Modern Poetry in Translation, Reunion, Studies in the Novel, TAB, and other publications. ISSN (online): 2325-5099 Cover image © Sarah Katharina Kayß Globe image © Don Hammond/Design Pics/Corbis Department of World Languages and Literatures College of Arts and Sciences Western Michigan University


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Transference Vol. 4, Fall 2016, Transference, 2017,