Transference Vol. 2, Fall 2014

Transference, Dec 2014

Lynde-Recchia, Molly

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Transference Vol. 2, Fall 2014

Transference Vol. 2, Fall 2014 Molly Lynde-Recchia 0 Part of the Classical Literature 0 Philology Commons 0 Comparative Literature Commons 0 East Asian Languages 0 Societies Commons 0 European Languages 0 Societies Commons 0 French 0 Francophone Language 0 Literature Commons 0 German Language 0 Literature Commons 0 Linguistics Commons 0 Modern Languages Commons 0 Modern Literature Commons 0 Poetry Commons 0 Reading 0 Language Commons 0 the Soviet 0 Post-Soviet Studies Commons 0 0 Western Michigan University , USA Follow this and additional works at: http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/transference An Annual Publication of the Department of World Languages and Literatures at Western Michigan University Volume II On the Tomb of a Great Beauty by Ribbons of May by Fading by Green by Angel of the Sea by s agw Just Above Silence by a na The Banyan Tree by Cai QiJiao Untitled by To — by QiJiao QiJiao ………………...................................................……………...12 ………..............................................................….…..…….12 ………….………..……...................................................…….13 .......................................................................................13 f renCh yb l ynda ChouiTen .....................16 d ai ...........................................................................18 d ai ...........................................................................18 o n te n ts Foreword…………..……………………………………………………………...................vi Caudinl yb b reTT f osTer ……………………......9 A Dried Flower—for Someone by Palace-Cave Mountain by d ai ...........................................................................19 d ai ..........................................................................20 nad nad nad nad , d enis , d enis , d enis , d enis , d enis Carol Carol Carol Carol d ing d ing d ing d ing d ing , , , s agw s agw T arnsl de T arnsl T de r o s t o o n yb A u t u m n A r r i v e s i s ahngyi l i yb s ahngyi l rfom rfom T eh T eh C ihnes C ihnes yb yb a a dnrew dnrew g g dugel dugel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 8 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 8 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sooner or later we must come to the end of striving to re-establish the image the image of the rose (William Carlos Williams, from “The Rewaking”) I came to explore the wreck. The words are purposes. The words are maps. I came to see the damage that was done and the treasures that prevail. (Adrienne Rich, from “Diving into the Wreck”) Lost, is it, buried? One more missing piece? But nothing’s lost. Or else: all is translation And every bit of us is lost in it (James Merrill, from “Lost in Translation”) The above quotations all focus on the attempt of recovery. Our desire to write and to read poetry can be explained in countless ways, but one of its purposes is certainly recovery—recovery of both individual and communal memories, feelings, and history. Williams, Rich, and Merrill imply that the success of this attempt is predicated upon communication between the artist and his/her audience. Because human communication is always imperfect, the act of recovery will also be imperfect. Merrill, in particular, calls it “Lost in Translation.” But Merrill refuses to say it is a failure, just as one gets the distinct impression with Williams that there never will be an end to the striving and that Rich’s wreck is as important for the prevailing treasures as for the damage. Recovery in literary translation is even more precarious than in original poetry. As we said in the foreword of our first issue, to even call this act “translation” is misleading, because “translation,” from the Latin verb transferre, “to carry across,” refers to something that has already been brought across passively, in a perfect state; “transference,” on the other hand, from the same Latin verb, is the imperfect act of bringing someone or something across, always in a state of incompletion. Indeed, Transference continues to feature this imperfect yet essential human endeavor of recovery in our second issue: “Everything is on the way to being destroyed / Everything is striving toward completion” (“Nanmu Forest,” p.21). These two lines sum up the dynamic tension of loss and plenitude that characterizes many of the poems in this issue. From Brett Foster’s translation of Claudian’s ephemerous “Great Beauty,” which leads off the volume, to Andrew Gudgel’s renderings of Tao Yuanming and Li Shangyin that evoke new spring wine and trees budding side by side with migrating geese and frosty moonlight, a pulling of opposites is woven through this collection. Goro Takano describes the “chilliness of / The new beginning” in his translation of Murano Shirō, and the stones in Michael Stone Tangeman’s rewriting of Murō Saisei “fell silent” but “yearned to scream and stand.” Within this dialectic of yearning, the reader is trapped in the middle distance, compelled, like the “girl...who gravely counts her dreams” in Nicholas Swett’s translation of Khaled Abdallah, to enter a reverie, to take a side in a debate and then to switch sides, to contemplate “something like a castle / Soaring precariously / on the spot where everything else slips down” (“That Man,” p. 28). These manifold transcriptions of experience reframe the known in time and space. Rina Kikuchi and Carol Hayes’ “the rewinding of a watch” and Edward Morin, Dennis Ding, and Fang Dai’s image of the beard of the banyan tree “fluttering in the sky” take on a signal importance as they paraphrase the ineffable, telling and retelling the human story’s quotidian miracle. And at the same time, these poems, distillations of English words and sounds, carry the echoes of their first form, the language in which they sprang to life. To return to the quotations at the beginning of this foreword, by striving after the image, diving into the wreck, and getting lost in translation, we make it possible to find ourselves. David Kutzko and Molly Lynde-Recchia, editors-in-chief Brett Foster On the Tomb of a Great Beauty Claudian In sepulchrum speciosae Fate never permits longevity to beauty: all that is exalted and preeminent ends all of a sudden— just like that. Here lies a beautiful woman: Venus’s loveliness belonged to her, but hers as well covetous Heaven’s malice, a poor exchange for that first honor. The poet of late antiquity known as Claudian (or, formally, Claudius Claudianus, 370–404 AD) is usually overlooked in whatever grouping he is placed. He tends to be overshadowed by his near contemporaries of the early Christian Church—Augustine and Jerome—and among fellow Latin poets, he and his work have not endured amid the company of classical authors such as Virgil and Horace, or even later Silver Age poets such as Lucan. Yet in his own time his reputation was formidable, and at least one poem of his, “De raptu Proserpinae,” an unfinished epic in three books written near the end of the fourth century, has continued to be read and highly regarded, not only in Claudian’s own day but also from the medieval era onward. Consider, for example, references to it in Chaucer as well as poet and translator David Slavitt’s including it in Broken Columns: Two Roman Epic Fragments. Born in Alexandria, Claudian found success as a court poet by writing just the sort of verse—formal, occasional, and often uncomfortably flattering to a modern ear—that is likely to meet only with obscurity amid today’s poetry readership, even among those readers with a taste for classical or medieval poetry. He wrote effusive eulogies to a pair of patrons, Probinus and Olybrius, along with other starchy (by our standards) “panegyrics.” He also wrote epithalamia, formal attacks (the best known one against Rufinus), and other more heroic, epideictic poems, in hexameters, in praise of the deeds and leadership of consuls such as Stilicho. Similarly, his “De bello gothico” suggests a poet interested in his times. Although not a certainty, a sudden lack of testimony makes it likely that Claudian was dead by 404. By 400, even before his death, the placing of a statue of him in the Roman Forum suggests the extent of his reputation at the end of his career. Claudian is even more overlooked as a poet of carmina or short lyric poems. Like his Roman predecessors such as Ovid, Propertius, and Tibullus, Claudian showed much skill in composing elegiac couplets. These poems are hardly studied at all, even among specialists, but I find them to be of great interest and promise. If not great late-antique lyric poems in their own right, Claudian’s lyric poems at least provide an occasion, with their attention to image and choice of interesting subject and delicate development of thought, to the literary translator who is hopeful to render a readable contemporary poem from this source text, and by so doing give Claudian a twenty-first-century voice. That has been my goal with this Claudian translation included here. The slender line lengths of “On the Tomb of a Great Beauty” leave behind Claudian’s original stanza shape in favor of lines that overall may give some readers the impression of a tomb stone and the epitaph shown there. It is lean in appearance but also in its unflinching, brooding sentiment. (Claudian’s early readers would have recognized his own choice of elegiac couplets as the common meter for such epitaphs on tombs.) I realize that this may be seen as perhaps oversubtle, but I was hoping for a subconscious “migration of effect” for the contemporary reader of this English-language version of Claudian’s poem. I have tried to accentuate the structure and expression that makes this poem lively—moving from proposition to the present occasion, and with a sharp but conversational voice (the talkative “just like that,” for example). Claudian’s original tersely invites readers to infer their own conclusions from the pairing of the “possessions” of the poem’s great beauty—the beauty itself, along with Heaven’s spite. My version allows itself one final, dry point to be verbalized: these two gifts cannot exist side by side; the bearer must be willing, after all (and has no choice but to be willing), to suffer an exchange. Rina Kikuchi and Carol Hayes Ribbons of May the air laughed loud outside my window in the shadows of the multi-coloured tongues the leaves blow about in clumps I am unable to understand is there anyone out there? I stretch out my hand into the darkness it was only the long hair of the wind Rina Kikuchi and Carol Hayes Fading glimmering like a flame on the grass amethyst buttons glittering slowly you come down this way A mountain dove listens for the lost voice. Latticed rays of sunlight slant through the branches. A green terrace and thirsty plants. I remind myself to wind my watch. Sagawa Chika 白く Rina Kikuchi and Carol Hayes Green from the morning balcony invading like waves flooding over everywhere I feel I am drowning on the mountain path as each breath catches in my throat I stop myself falling again and again the town captured in my vision opens and closes like a circling dream they come crashing in with a terrible force engulfing everything I was abandoned Rina Kikuchi and Carol Hayes Angel of the Sea again and again the cradle crashes sea spray dances high like severed feathers waiting for the one who sleeps music heralds the coming of the bright hour I scream aloud trying to make myself heard the waves follow after and wash my cries away I was abandoned into the sea Sagawa Chika 緑 Sagawa Chika 海の天使 Sagawa Chika (左川ちか, 1911–1936) was a pioneering Japanese woman poet who made an important contribution to the developmental stage of Japanese poetic modernism in the 1920s and 30s. She was born in Yoichi, Hokkaido, Japan. Soon after she graduated from Women’s High School, she moved to Tokyo, possibly to follow Itō Sei (伊藤整, 1905–1969), who later became a wellknown novelist, translator and literary critic. Even though there is no clear evidence, it appears Sagawa was in love with Itō, whom she was first introduced to by her half-brother when she was only thirteen. They became more than friends after she moved to Tokyo. Itō’s influence is apparent throughout her poetry, and Itō’s sudden marriage to another woman in September 1930 clearly affected Sagawa and her poetry deeply. Sagawa started to publish translations in literary journals under Ito’s supervision in 1929. She also became closely involved with a group of young modernist writers that included Kitazono Katsue (北園克衛, 1902–1978) and Haruyama Yukio (春山行夫, 1902–1994), who later came to be acknowledged as the fathers of Japanese poetic modernism. Her first extant poem, entitled “The Beetle,” was published in 1930 and her avant-garde spirit was praised by not only these fellow modernist poets but also a number of her literary contemporaries. Her poetic career was cut short when she died of stomach cancer at the age of 24. During her short literary career, spanning 1929 to 1935, Sagawa published more than one hundred poems, prose writings and translations in various literary journals. Sagawa also published the first Japanese translation of James Joyce’s Chamber Music in 1932. The first collection of her poems, Selected Poems of Sagawa Chika, was edited anonymously by Itō Sei and published in November 1936, eleven months after her death. With regard to our translation process, we choose to translate together, as one native speaker of Japanese and one native speaker of English. We find this creates an interesting negotiation around the meaning in both languages. It is not a case of one of us translating from Japanese into English and then the other checking that work, but rather a jointly shared process. First we read the Japanese original aloud, as we feel this allows us to better understand the rhythm of the work. Then we play with a number of translations before we are happy with the result. It is also important to note that we each bring a different knowledge base to the table, with one of us a Western researcher of modern Japanese literature and the other a Japanese researcher of comparative literature with a focus on Ireland and Japan. In Sagawa’s case, we have chosen to try to express the sometimes uncomfortable or ambiguous expressions she uses. We usually translate a single poem in one threehour session, spending a lot of time thinking about the tenses, the grammatical particles and whether certain words are plural or singular. In these translations, we have approached the poems as independent works and the format of the translations attempts to reflect on the internal structure and cohesion of each poem. As a result, the presentation of Sagawa’s work in English translation is not consistent, as she herself often varies her style. Many of her poems are experimental, reflecting her engagement with the poetic modernism movement in Japan and her reading of Western writers such as James Joyce and Virginia Woolf. Some poems even step across the border between prose and poetry. To demonstrate the flavor of the original poems in the English translations, we have intentionally included some awkward phrasing and grammatical structures that challenge English poetic conventions. Sagawa’s use of titles is quite distinctive; the word or phrase used as the title is rarely included in the poem itself. For example, in the poem “Fading”, the Japanese title 白く is a non-complete phrase which, grammatically, should be connected to something, such as 白くなる. We chose to translate this with an ‘ing’ ending in order to reflect this sense of adverbial becoming, or change of state. We also felt quite strongly that this image was not a specific color but rather a fading of all color and all things: hence our title. We have also tried to reflect on the poetic forms and styles used by Sagawa, including her unique language usage, punctuation and grammatical reordering. The following points demonstrate something of Sagawa’s stylistic experimentation and how we have dealt with this experimentation in our translations: • The capitalization of the first word of each line, a common English poetic convention, has not always been followed, in order to better reflect Sagawa’s modernist experimentation. • If Sagawa has not used punctuation in the original, we have also chosen not to use punctuation in our translations, as long as the grammatical structure allows. • The large gap (ten spaces) included in some lines of the translations indicates a similar space intentionally used in the original poem. Note that Japanese sentences do not usually include any spaces and so this was quite new in her work. Our translations are based on the poems collected in New Complete Poems of Sagawa Chika (『左川ちか全詩集 新版』) published by Shinkaisha in 2010. Anna Greki Juste au-dessus du silence I talk low, just above silence So that even my other ear can’t hear. The earth sleeps in the open and lingers in my head With the rigor of asphodels. I’ve re-peopled a few deserts and walked a lot And now I lie down in my fatigue and my joy— Those wracks thrown ashore by Summer waves. In unknown countries, bits of me are seeding. Boughs of my tenderness, they give Oases where days are merry-making orchards, Where man drinks amniotic vigor. Happiness is falling in the public domain. * It will be a day like others A familiar morning, with well-known joys, Felt because they are daily joys, With sky-burning words, With route-charting words, Which make happiness a matter of patience, Which make happiness a matter of confidence, And those women, so proud of their belly Reddened by dint of re-giving birth to their children Every dawn; those women, who are blued with patience, Who have too much voice to learn silence. Strong like a woman whose hands have been rusted by steel, You cuddle your children with care, And when their tiredness gets hurt by your patience You walk in their eyes, that they can have some rest. Anna Colette Grégoire, alias Anna Greki, was born in the Algerian city of Batna in March 1931. A French schoolteacher’s daughter, she interrupted her education to take part in the Algerian struggle for independence and was jailed and tortured on account of this. After independence, she resumed her studies, graduated in French literature, and worked as a teacher of French at Emir Abdelkader Secondary School in Algiers. In parallel to teaching, she regularly published poems in the weekly newspaper Révolution africaine (African Revolution). She died at the age of thirty-five, while giving birth. I first discovered Greki’s poems as a schoolgirl, in a textbook; but I rarely, if ever, hit upon any of her poems after that. She seemed to have fallen into oblivion in all memories, including my own, until, in a conference which took place about a year ago, I met a native of her region who spoke passionately about her simultaneously naïve and perplexing poetry. This triggered in me a wish to rediscover and translate her poems. The poem given here is my first attempt at translating Greki’s work, but I am currently working on others of her poems. “Juste au-dessus du silence” (“Just Above Silence”) is taken from Temps Forts (Powerful Times, 1966). Written in the wake of Algerian independence, it reads as the end of a long epic, with years of struggle, patience, and exile giving way to the simple, tranquil routine of peace and daily happiness. I have tried to be as faithful to the original as possible, but this has not always been an easy task, for Greki’s verse is filled with unfamiliar, surprising images which seem to bear the imprint of surrealism and which make their meaning far from obvious. Rereading the lines several times was necessary not only because of the poet’s rather surrealist metaphors but also because of the length of the poet’s sentences, which sometimes stretch over several lines. The idea of introducing punctuation—commas, semi-colons, periods and dashes that are absent in the French version—was, at first, no more than a technique which helped me confirm my understanding of the poem. Then I thought that in giving clearer contours to sentences, punctuation can make the translation easier to understand for readers; so I decided to keep it. Edward Morin, Dennis Ding, and Fang Dai The Banyan Tree I’ve come to believe that no plant more than he embodies so completely the spirit of my homeland. His tangled roots spread out in all directions like bronze that can split the hardest rock, while the benevolent long beard fluttering in the sky caresses and fondles the resplendent air; his branches generously give many kinds of life a dwelling— small parasitic weeds below, powerful eagles perched above. He towers by the roadside extending his hands to all sides as if ready to lift myriad things on earth to great heights. 1956 Edward Morin, Dennis Ding, and Fang Dai Untitled Whoever bare their teeth and brandish their claws are as rare as phoenix feathers and unicorns. Candor and loyalty are just as rare. For them deception is a common strategy; they put on a Buddhist kasaya or the kind of coat everyone else wears and go on hiding their hearts’ hatred of mankind. Don’t let calamity dissemble happiness, don’t let an emperor pose as a teacher, don’t let blindness replace an ideal, but observe calmly with vigilant eyes, and don’t blithely trust the most beautiful words. Imperialism is your foe! Feudalism is your foe! Ignorance is yet another! 1963 Cai Qijiao 榕树 Cai Qijiao 无题 Edward Morin, Dennis Ding, and Fang Dai To — Because you love others more than yourself your heart bears a full load of gnawing pain and blossoms with intense feelings like a rose. You wear sharp thorns only for self defense. Unfriendly to boors, you yourself are so gentle that moonlight forges music in your soul. Before hope would fly out of your bosom raindrops have already soothed your feelings, and therefore sparks flash from your shining eyes. To tell the truth, your heart is like a green seedling that dearly loves springtime’s morning dew— moon and rain your only escort as you begin your journey. 1973 Edward Morin, Dennis Ding, and Fang Dai A Dried Flower—for Someone Meandering in from far away this flower whose color hasn’t faded keeps bringing back roguish memories; today it seems to still hold the air and sunlight of that day and shall never change even when snow falls and ice congeals. 1975 Cai Qijiao 赠人以枯花 2014 Murō Saisei (1889–1962), apart from being known as one of three famous early twentieth-century men of letters from Kanazawa on the Japan Sea, was a prominent poet, novelist and literary critic whose works are admired as exemplary masculine literary Japanese. The subject of this 1932 poem is the dry rock and sand garden at Ryōan-ji (Temple of the Peaceful Dragon) in Kyoto. This Zen garden is one of the iconic sites of traditional Japan. The arrangement of the fifteen rocks in the garden prevents all fifteen from being viewed at one time, creating an allusion to the Buddhist principles of impermanence and imperfection. The space is small, smaller than it appears in photographs, but there is a calming power exuded by its confines. Even boisterous schoolchildren who flock to the temple by the thousands each year are compelled by some ineffable force to quiet themselves—a perceptible change comes over them—in the presence of these deceptively simple, physically unimposing, seemingly organic structures. Saisei’s poem imagines the power contained within the clusters of rocks, the mystery of the clusters, and an almost-biological (rather than geological) essence contained in the seemingly inert forms. His speculation on the divine origin of the rocks, however, does nothing to speak to the purpose of their placement. They remain mysterious. It is the sound of water that catches the poet, and threatens to paralyze him. Traditional poetic notions associated with water—movement, change—are juxtaposed with the stillness and immutability of rock. Saisei reveals the power—a power able to distract the poet’s eye from a beautiful woman—contained within the stones. If he is unable to unleash the rocks from the tether of gravity, he is at least able to give them a voice. In translating this poem the challenge was to keep the natural elements (water, rock) in the states in which Saisei describes them: to anthropomorphize only when Saisei does so. Preserving the noun phrases in the first stanza, rather than turning them into verb phrases, was important, but not terribly easy given the vibrancy of Saisei’s phrasing. And in the final stanza, I attempted to approximate Saisei’s alliteration (musū…muragari…) in the translation “countless…cluster.” 2014 Ann Lauinger The Eighth Eclogue The art of Damon and Alphesiboeus, Contending shepherds who made the cow in wonder Forget to graze, whose song left lynxes stunned And stilled the altered course of streams, the art Of Damon and Alphesiboeus I’ll tell. But you (and where are you now? passing the rocks Of great Timavus? coasting Illyricum’s shore?), Will that day ever come when I’m allowed To tell what you have done? And shall I be Allowed to show the world at large your songs, The only worthy heirs of Sophocles’? From you was my beginning, and in you I hope to end. Accept these songs, begun At your behest; around your brow, among Its conqueror’s laurels, let this ivy twine. The chilly shades of night had hardly left The sky, and dew, the herd’s delight, still clung To the tender grass when, leaning on a smooth Olive trunk, Damon thus began his song. Damon : “Rise, morning star, and shine before the break Of kindly day, while I complain, beguiled By the unworthy love of Nysa, my promised bride, And, a dying man, appeal to the gods In my last hour—even though those gods Have witnessed all and profited me nothing. Begin with me, my flute, these Maenalian verses. Mt. Maenalus always has his sounding groves, His speaking pines. He always hears the loves Of shepherds; he hears Pan, the first who would Not let the reeds rest voiceless and unused. TransfeCe Vergil Ecloga VIII 5 10 15 20 25 30 Nysa is given to Mopsus! Now what may We lovers not expect? Griffins will mate With horses next, and in the future age The shy deer will lap their drink with dogs. Begin with me, my flute, these Maenalian verses. Mopsus, cut fresh torches: they’re leading in The bride to you. Bridegroom, scatter the nuts: For you the evening star deserts Mount Oeta. Begin with me, my flute, these Maenalian verses. O, that’s a worthy man with whom you’re matched! And you, meanwhile, despising everyone, Hating my pipe, my goats, my shaggy brows And scruffy beard, and not believing any Of the gods is mindful of the lives of men. Begin with me, my flute, these Maenalian verses. I saw you first a little girl inside Our garden with your mother, picking apples Wet with dew. I was your guide, just Turned twelve; now, standing, I could grasp The fragile boughs. I saw and I was lost. So the deadly madness stole me away! Begin with me, my flute, these Maenalian verses. I know now what Love is: Mount Rhodope Or Tmaros or remotest Africa Brought forth that boy on the hard flint, for he Is neither of our blood nor of our kind. Begin with me, my flute, these Maenalian verses. Savage Love taught a mother to stain her hands 35 40 45 50 55 With her sons’ blood; mother, you too were cruel. Was the mother crueler, or the boy Love more heartless? The boy was heartless; mother, you too were cruel. Begin with me, my flute, these Maenalian verses. Now let the wolf turn tail and flee the sheep; Let the hard oak trees bear golden apples, And alders flower with narcissus blooms; Let tamarisks sweat rich amber from their bark, And owls contend with swans. Let Tityrus Be Orpheus, an Orpheus of the woods, And with the dolphins let him be Arion! Begin with me, my flute, these Maenalian verses. Let the deep sea swallow all! Forests, farewell! Down from the lofty mountain summit I Will fling myself headlong into the waves. Take this, the last gift of a dying man. Now cease, my flute, cease these Maenalian verses.” So Damon sang. Alphesiboeus’s answer, Muses, you tell. We can’t all do all things. Alphesiboeus : “Carry the water out and tie a strip Of cloth around this altar. Burn the strong Frankincense, the pungent vervain boughs, And let me try with magic rites to drive My lover out of his stone-sober mind! There’s nothing wanting now except the spells: Draw him home from town, my spells, draw Daphnis. For spells have power even to draw the moon Down from the sky. With spells Circe transformed Ulysses’s comrades; singing spells can force The clammy meadow snake to burst its skin. This triple thread, three different colors, first I tie around you; three times then I lead Your effigy around the altar here. Uneven numbers are the god’s delight. Tie the three colors, Amaryllis, In triple knots; just tie them, Amaryllis, And say, ‘Here I tie the chains of love.’ Draw him home from town, my spells, draw Daphnis. Draw him home from town, my spells, draw Daphnis. As this mud hardens and as this wax melts In one and the same fire, may Daphnis thus Obey the double fire of my love. Sprinkle the meal and set the brittle laurel Aflame with pitch. Wicked Daphnis makes me burn; Against Daphnis I burn this laurel here. Draw him home from town, my spells, draw Daphnis. May love take hold of Daphnis like a heifer That, tired out with searching for her bull Through the deep woods and groves, collapses, spent, In the green sedge along a river bank, But has no thought of giving up the search Although the night is late: such love I wish On Daphnis—and may I not care to cure it. Draw him home from town, my spells, draw Daphnis. Here are clothes the betrayer left me once As precious pledges of himself. I commit Them now to you, earth, on my doorstep, And in exchange claim Daphnis as my due. Draw him home from town, my spells, draw Daphnis. Moeris himself gave me these poisonous herbs Gathered in Pontus (many such grow in Pontus). I’ve seen Moeris often with these herbs Become a wolf, lurking in the woods; often I’ve seen him call up souls of the buried dead Or lead the standing crops from field to field. Draw him home from town, my spells, draw Daphnis. Now, Amaryllis, take the ashes out, Throw them over your head and in the stream, But don’t look back. With them I’ll besiege Daphnis: He’s full of scorn for the gods and magic spells. Draw him home from town, my spells, draw Daphnis. Look! The ash—before I could take it out— Itself fired the altar with wavering flames! May it mean good! I’m sure there’s something—Hylax Is barking at the door. Can it be true? Or do lovers shape their dreams to their own desires? Enough now, spells, enough! From town comes Daphnis.” “Eclogue 8” is one of four singing contests in the Eclogues. A narrator sets the scene in an opening frame, introducing the two competitors. Both songs are of unhappy love, and each includes a refrain repeated ten times, the last time in altered form. Though both songs are in the first person, the singer is not necessarily the protagonist of his song. Damon sings of losing his beloved to another, while Alphesiboeus more obviously impersonates a speaker, a woman attempting to recover her wandering lover through magic. The ambiguous endings of both songs and the absence of a closing frame for the eclogue combine to blur the line between art and life, impersonation and reality in this mysterious poem. In translating Vergil’s “Eighth Eclogue,” I didn’t want to update it. The pastoral world of the Eclogues is a rich literary convention with its own integrity, a world that is mythic in its idealizing but that also, precisely because of its distance from the real world, invites allusion to and criticism of the real world. My general aim was to let readers experience the visual and aural beauty of Vergil’s pastoral world, along with a sense of its otherness. Choosing blank verse both for its flexibility and as a rough equivalent of Vergil’s dactylic hexameter, I did not attempt to match one English line for every line of Latin, since English syntax has nothing like the succinctness of Latin; and I largely gave up the hope of reproducing Vergil’s word order within the poetic line, since the heavily inflected nature of Latin allows much greater flexibility in that regard. The Eclogues generally employ rather simple diction and syntax for Vergil’s imagined rustic speakers, reflecting the literary principle of decorum. Yet with that simplicity, and with the epic associations of dactylic hexameter, Vergil confers a shapeliness and dignity on the actions and feelings of his characters and the sensuous concreteness of their world. The simplicity of Vergil’s diction intensifies a problem faced by any translator from Latin: the language’s word stock is small relative to that of English, so that a single Latin word may convey several distinct meanings. Does fidelity require that a repeated word in the Latin be represented by the same English word each time it occurs? I usually tried to do this. Twice, however, different contexts required rather different English translations for a repeated word, as noted below. In general, I tried to use English that was idiomatic yet not always colloquial. The aim, at least, was to find a tone whose simple, slightly formal syntax and diction would avoid both the awkwardness of some strictly literal renderings and the jarring effect of modernisms which, though they might be “user-friendly,” would violate the conventions and break the spell of the mythic pastoral world. To that end, I let stand most place names and proper names, though I preferred the more familiar “Muses” to “Pierides” (78). I occasionally expanded the Latin slightly to explain or clarify something a Roman audience would have known: for example, specifying “Mt. Maenalus” (27) and, in the allusion to the pipes of Pan (29–30), translating a single Latin adjective, inertis, by two English ones, “voiceless and unused,” to render the myth more explicit for modern readers. I also expanded puer (“the boy”) to “the boy Love” (61). By contrast, however, the child-murdering mother in lines 59–62, instantly recognizable to Roman readers as Medea, is identified only in the note below, for the sake of the tone and complicated rhetorical structure of the stanza. A few more specific comments follow. 6–15: Commentators have been divided over the identity of this nameless dedicatee, who might plausibly be G. Asinius Pollio (76 B.C.E.–4 C.E.) or Octavian, the future Augustus. Vergil’s omission of a definite identity for the addressee contributes to the poem’s mysterious tone. (I am grateful to Transference’s anonymous referee for this thought.) 14–15: The English fails to capture the intricate Latin word order, a lovely imitation of the literal interweaving of ivy and laurel: hanc sine tempora circum / inter victrices hederam tibi serpere lauros. 22: “promised bride” (coniunx). The Latin word can mean spouse and here implies a betrothal, but perhaps only in the protagonist’s understanding, not Nysa’s. That we have no way of ascertaining this is one of many instances of the eclogue’s blurring of subjective and objective reality. 33–35: These “impossibilities” (adynata), like the set in lines 64–72, express the upside-down world created for the speaker by Nysa’s betrayal. 52: “deadly madness” translates malus error, to convey the destructive and pathological power of love. I have translated a later occurrence of malus (“bad”) differently (see note to line 104). 59–62: The mother is Medea. The artful repetition, juxtaposition, and chiasmus in the Latin lines are imperfectly captured by the translation. 68: Tityrus is one of the speakers in Ecl. 1. To compare his pastoral music with that of the mythic singers Orpheus or Arion is as absurd as the other unnatural “impossibilities” in the catalogue. 75–77: A curious triple ending to the first half of the poem. The protagonist’s dramatic arc ends in his imminent suicide; the tenth and final refrain with its altered verb brings his utterance/Damon’s song to its formal close; and the eclogue’s narrator recalls the opening frame, the “actual” circumstances of the singing contest. 79–137: In its depiction of a magic ritual, Alphesiboeus’s song is a kind of performative speech act and leads us deeper into the blurring of language and reality that informs the whole eclogue. Throughout, the incantation’s repeated words, parallel phrases, and delicately varied word order beautifully pattern the language (just as a spell uses language to pattern reality) in more ways than English allows. TransfeCe 83: “my lover” translates the same word (coniunx) which in Damon’s song was used of Nysa, the “promised bride” (22). As in Damon’s song, the speaker asserts a commitment (marriage? betrothal? sweet talk?) that may exist only in her mind. English doesn’t readily provide a male parallel to “promised bride,” and “husband” seemed too definitive for a relationship the poem leaves undefined. 104: “Wicked” here tries to convey the sense of malus for someone who maliciously uses magic to inflict harm, an ironic accusation for the speaker, given what she’s doing. (My thanks to Transference’s anonymous referee for both these points.) 132–37: As with Damon’s song, a complex ending and one remaining open in many ways. “Look!…May it mean good!” may be the protagonist’s words or her servant’s. The “wavering” of the flames suggests uncertainty even while the reignited ash constitutes an omen (but of what?). The final, altered refrain asserts that the spell has been successful, yet it is impossible to override the profound ambiguity of the lines immediately preceding. Compare Nisus’s similar musing in the Aeneid: “Is it the gods who kindle this passion in our minds, or does the terrible desire of each man become a god to him?” (Nisus ait: “dine hunc ardorem mentibus addunt, / Euryale, an sua cuique fit dira cupido?” [9.184–85]). In a final blurring of the real and the imagined, the eclogue closes without returning to its opening narrative frame. When I was a young man love was my favorite pastime; the love that sends its dreamy looks from blue eyes or whispers it with tender lips colored in coral The love that is in fact like beauty overflowing and black hair tousled by the slight breezes of the North But now, I no longer possess love only a feeling I am not moved at all for neither do cheeks flush with the horizon’s redness arouse me, nor does the swaying figure of a slender girl excite or lift me away Now—that the distance has widened between me and Venus, the soul mate to the setting sun of my love— I have returned Cupid’s arrows to his golden quiver for I find nothing in love but a silly game, eternally shrouded in death, and silence! TransfeCe Adnan Sadduk (1944–) is a professor of Arabic Language and Culture at the Defense Language Institute at the Presidio of Monterey in California. A native of Tulkarm, Palestine, and educated at the University of Baghdad and Pepperdine University, Sadduk has long had a distinguished career in public service: as an educator, journalist, editor, publisher, and former Jordanian chargé d’affaires in North Yemen. An accomplished poet, he has published his works in Jordanian newspapers and magazines since elementary school. He continues to actively organize and participate in Arabic literary seminars in the United States. Originally composed by Sadduk in 1973 in Amman, Jordan, the poem “Love” is taken from his retrospective collection of romantic poetry, To Anglo-Saxon Eyes (2011). The poem’s lyrical “I” explores how the impassioned love of one’s youth can easily go awry by the metonymic slippage of desire—and, ultimately, by the dialectical tension between eros and thanatos. In my translation, I have attempted to render the Arabic into English as closely as possible while still retaining the visual architectonics of the original text. Sadduk’s use of short lines emphasizes a number of synesthetic experiences, which are further enhanced by his use of colors (black, blue, coral, and red) and sensuous body parts (cheeks, eyes, hair, and lips). Like many of the poems in the above collection, his poetic style harnesses the direct and affective power of everyday language; they are, thus, similar to the works of another modern Arabic poet that Sadduk greatly admires, Nizar Qabbani. II XIII XV Earth, future of my abyss, you are the pool where I ponder. “The female nude is the blue sky.” Astrology has soaked up watercolor. Nancy Naomi Carlson First Mill (excerpts) René Char Moulin premier (extraits) I do not piffle with pigs. XVIII The canal advances to meet the river. Both equal in depth, both equal before the dawn. XXXVIII Here, the male image pursues the female one all day, or vice versa. Over there, where they finally meet, the creator dies and the poet is born. Hailed by Prime Minister Jacques Chirac as “the greatest French poet of the 20th century,” René Char’s literary career spanned over sixty years. In 1952, Albert Camus called Char “France’s greatest living poet.” Martin Heidigger praised Char as “a tour de force into the ineffable.” Char, whose surname was an abbreviated form of Charlemagne, was born on June 14, 1907, in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, in Provence, France. When Char was eleven, his father died. Char moved to Paris after completing his education at the University of Aix-en-Provence. It was there that he began his association with such surrealist writers as André Breton and Paul Éluard, signing Le Manifeste du surréalisme. Although he valued the idea of poetry as a spontaneous activity, he renounced the Surrealists five years later, arguing that poetry must remain free of limits imposed by ideologies or affiliations. During World War II, under the “nom de guerre” Captain Alexander, Char led a Resistance unit in the French Alps, for which he was named to the Legion of Honor. The publication of Seuls demeurent in 1945 led to wide acclaim in France. Throughout his life, Char preferred that interpretation of his work not be limited to a personal or historical context. Instead, he emphasized the poet’s moral responsibility, which was also reflected in his life when he fought in the Resistance, as well as when he later opposed nuclear proliferation. He was a champion of social justice and the rights of “the working man.” Char’s work is known for his economy of style, including his aphorisms and his short bursts of prose, as well as the sense of mystery that pervades each text. Char was influenced by such French poets as Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud, Stéphane Mallarmé, Guillaume Apollinaire, and Paul Valéry, as well as the German poets Friedrich Hölderlin and Rainer Maria Rilke. In addition, one can see the influences of Friedrich Nietzsche and Heraclitus, the ancient Greek philosopher. The poetic aphorisms in this set were drawn from Moulin premier (First Mill), Char’s collection of 70 aphorisms, first published in 1934 as part of Le marteau sans maître (Hammer without a Master). This collection of aphorisms was the first of many more to come. Subtle sound patterns emerge in the music of his aphorisms. I have tried to honor these patterns, especially the alliterative elements. For example, the three percussive ps in the following aphorism literally jump out at the reader, and in so doing, create a humorous effect: “Je ne plaisante pas avec les porcs.” After much time wrestling with this challenge, I was able to come up with “I do not piffle with pigs,” with its humorous undertone. More times than not it is difficult to reproduce the exact sounds of the source text, especially when many sounds do not exist in English, such as many French vowels. This case was the exception. Another challenge posed by these aphorisms was the urge to make semantic leaps for the reader, based on my understanding of the historical and political context in which they were written. Returning to aphorism XV, I was tempted to modify the word “pigs” with the word “German” to allude to the rise of the Nazi f al Party during the time the aphorism was written; however, I dismissed the idea on rhythmic grounds, as well as my desire to stay as faithful to the text as possible. In addition, I wanted to preserve the text’s sense of mystery. I chose these particular aphorisms because of their relative accessibility compared to many others. Their evocative imagery based on everyday sights, as well as the juxtaposition of surprising elements, make them especially appealing. Andrew Gudgel Cloudy Skies Tao Yuanming 停雲 “Cloudy Skies” was written because I miss my dear friends. There’s new wine in the cups and the trees in the garden are just beginning to bud. But those with whom I’d talk don’t come, and sighs overflow my breast. Gathered clouds and spring drizzle, The sky is dark and the road now difficult. Quiet and alone by my eastern window, I drink new spring wine. My dearest friends are far away so I stand and stand, rubbing my head. Gathered clouds and spring drizzle, The sky is dark and the plain become a river. There’s wine! There’s wine! But I drink alone by the eastern window. I miss those with whom I’d talk, yet no boat or cart comes. The trees in the eastern garden are beginning to bud. Dear friends and relatives fill me with happy thoughts. But there’s a saying, “Time flies.” When will we sit close and chat about our lives? Flying birds perch on my garden trees, They rest, and their song is full of harmony. How can there be no one, when I think of you so much? Those with whom I’d talk aren’t here and I’m filled with helplessness. f al When you first hear migrating geese, the cicadas are long gone; To the south of the tower, the water meets the sky. The Frost Nymph and Lady Moon both can stand the cold, And in the frosty moonlight, their charms compete. Andrew Gudgel Autumn Arrives The blowing wind rustles and the mat is dripping wet, Distant southern friends stick in my thoughts. Waiting for the arrival of Autumn is still lonely, Red leaves and green moss, time to close the doors. Li Shangyin 到秋 Tao Yuanming (c.376–427), was descended from a well-connected and influential family, yet became dissatisfied with corruption at court and the life of a scholar-official. Tao eventually quit, saying, “I will not bow just to earn five pecks of rice.” He spent the rest of his days as a tipsy recluse. His poems extol the virtues (and struggles) of the life of a simple farmer, as well as the joys of wine. These themes, plus his rejection of official life in corrupt times, made him a wistful ideal for many later Chinese scholar-officials, especially during turbulent periods of Chinese history. Tao’s straightforward poetic style and limited number of literary allusions also make him one of the more accessible poets for Western readers. “Cloudy Skies” is one of Tao’s more well-known poems, which is written in four Chinese characters/words per line and includes a short explanatory preface. In translating this piece, I tried to use similarly straightforward English and simple sentence structure to capture the flavor of the original. Li Shangyin (c.813–845), on the other hand, is famous for his lush imagery and numerous allusions. In the titles and almost every line of both of these translated poems, he draws on references to Chinese classics, history, mythology, and even Tao Yuanming’s poetry. (In fact, the line translated as “distant southern friends” in the poem “Autumn Arrives” actually reads “distant southern clouds”—a direct reference to Tao’s “Cloudy Skies.”) Li’s reliance on imagery and allusions means that his poems can be difficult to translate. For example, in China the personification of both frost and the moon are female. This sets the stage for Li’s night-time competition between the “charms” of the two, but also makes it impossible to use Western personifications such as Jack Frost or the Man in the Moon in the translation. The two poems translated here are written in a style that developed later and which has seven characters per line. In this later style, it is more common to link or juxtapose two images in a single line. In translating, I tried as much as possible to keep the images intact and leave any resulting ambiguity unresolved, as this mirrors the ambiguity that sometimes appears in Li’s poetry. f al Dean A. Brink is an associate professor in the English Department at Tamkang University, Taiwan. His current research ranges from studies of Taiwanese poetry in Japanese to American poetry and French experimental writing. Past work has focused on Richard Wright, John Ashbery, Tawara Machi, American antiwar poetry, and colonial Taiwan, appearing in Canadian Review of American Studies, Continuum, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, Oriental Archive, Parallax, Positions, Sungkyun Journal of East Asian Studies and Textual Practice. His original poetry has appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, Exquisite Corpse, Going Down Swinging (Australia) and elsewhere, including the anthology In Protest (2013). Nancy Naomi Carlson holds a master’s degree in French language and literature and a PhD in foreign language methodology. Her translations have appeared in such journals as Agni, Circumference, Crazyhorse, Denver Quarterly, Inventory, The Iowa Review, The Journal, and Western Humanities Review. Her own work has appeared in such journals as Poetry, Prairie Schooner and Shenandoah. Her collection of poetry, Kings Highway, won the Washington Writers’ Publishing House competition, and Complications of the Heart won the Texas Review Press’ Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize. Imperfect Seal of Lips was selected for the Tennessee Chapbook Prize. Stone Lyre, her collection of René Char translations, was published by Tupelo Press. She is senior translation editor for the new Tupelo Quarterly and translation editor for Blue Lyra Review. Luke Chambers is from Stillwater, Minnesota. He has a BS in Physics and Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin—River Falls, and an MA in Medieval Studies from Western Michigan University. His master’s thesis was on the incorporation and adaptation of Ovid’s Heroides in the Old Norse retelling of the Troy legend, Trójumanna saga. He is currently applying to English PhD programs in hopes of continuing his studies in medieval Germanic literature. Lynda Chouiten teaches literature in the Department of Foreign Languages of the University of Boumerdes, Algeria. She obtained her PhD in French Studies from the National University of Ireland, Galway, in March 2013. Her first book, inspired by her thesis and devoted to Isabelle Eberhardt’s evolution in the North African Orient, will be published soon by Lexington Books (MD) under the title Isabelle Eberhardt and North Africa: a Carnivalesque Mirage. Chouiten is interested in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Orientalist literature and postcolonial writing. One of her current projects is to make minor Algerian literary figures known in the English-speaking world; it is within this scope that her translation of Anna Greki’s poems falls. Fang Dai was born in Shanghai and graduated from high school during the Cultural Revolution. He received a BA in Chinese Language and Litera TransfeCe ture from East China Normal University and an MA and PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Michigan. He has had three novels—The Third Desire (1998), The Curtain of Night (1998), and Boasters’ Room 303 (1991)— and several stories published in the People’s Republic of China. With Edward Morin and Dennis Ding, he co-translated The Red Azalea: Chinese Poetry since the Cultural Revolution. He has been a visiting assistant professor of Chinese at the University of British Columbia and the University of Oregon. Currently he is an associate professor of Chinese at Hunter College in New York City. Dennis Ding was born in southwest China and graduated in Foreign Language and Literature from Guiyang Normal College and Guizhou University. He has studied as a visiting scholar at Oakland University in Michigan (1985–1986) and at Oxford University, England (1988). He has taught English for several years at Guizhou University, where he has been dean and chairman of Foreign Languages. His translations from English to Chinese include over one hundred works by T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, H.D., Robert Frost, W.C. Williams, Theodore Roethke, Saul Bellow, Ernest Hemingway, and a few other novelists including Agatha Christie. Many of his translations have appeared in leading Chinese publications. He has also edited textbooks of English and American literature for use in Chinese universities. He is a co-translator of The Red Azalea: Chinese Poetry since the Cultural Revolution. Brett Foster is the author of two poetry collections, and his translations of poems by Cecco Angiolieri, Guido Cavalcanti, Joachim DuBellay, Persius, Miklos Radnoti, and Antoine Girard de Saint-Amant have appeared in numerous journals, including Italian Poetry Review, Journal of Italian Translation, Yale Italian Poetry, Arion, Atlanta Review, Green Mountains Review, Metamorphoses, Partisan Review, and Poetry International. He has been awarded the Willis Barnstone Translation Prize and a PEN American Center translation grant. Foster teaches Renaissance literature and creative writing at Wheaton College. Andrew Gudgel received his BA in Chinese from The Ohio State University in 1989. He spent the next two decades-plus working for the US government, mostly in US embassies overseas, before becoming a freelance writer. He is currently a graduate student at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland. Mirko M. Hall is Associate Professor of German Studies and Chair of Languages, Cultures, and Literatures at Converse College in South Carolina. He is the author of Musical Revolutions in German Culture: Musicking against the Grain, 1800–1980 and a number of translations on intellectual history from German and military science from Arabic. He is a graduate of the Defense Language Institute, where he studied Modern Standard Arabic under the poet Adnan Sadduk. f al Carol Hayes is a senior lecturer in Japanese language and Japanese studies at the Australian National University, Australia. She has a PhD in modern Japanese literature from the University of Sydney. Her research focuses on modern and contemporary Japanese cultural studies, literature and film. A winner of an Office for Learning and Teaching National Teaching Excellence Award in 2013, Carol also has a strong interest in eLearning and Japanese language pedagogy. 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 PhD in contemporary Irish poetry from Chiba University, which included a period of research at Trinity College, Dublin; and an MA 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 PhD 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. Ann Lauinger’s publications include two books of poetry, Against Butterflies (Little Red Tree, 2013) and Persuasions of Fall (University of Utah, 2004), which won the Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry. She is a member of the literature faculty at Sarah Lawrence College. Warm thanks to Transference’s editor David Kutzko and the anonymous referee and to Emily Anhalt of Sarah Lawrence College for their thoughtful advice on this translation. Edward Morin has an MA in English from the University of Chicago and a PhD in English from Loyola University (Chicago). His co-translations with Lefteris Pavlides of modern Greek poems have appeared in Crosscurrents, New Letters, Chariton Review, and other magazines. He edited and, with Dai Fang and Dennis Ding, co-translated The Red Azalea: Chinese Poetry since the Cultural Revolution (U. of Hawaii Press, 1990), an anthology of 120 poems by 24 contemporary mainland Chinese poets. Over one hundred of his own poems have been published in many North American magazines including Hudson Review, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Poetry Northwest. Collections of his poetry include The Dust of Our City (1978) and Labor Day at Walden Pond (1997). He has also written and performed songs, some of which are available on the cassette “Transportation: Hot Tunes and Blues from Motor City” (Redbud Productions, 1988). He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. John G. Peters is the University Distinguished Research Professor of English at the University of North Texas. He has translated Takamura Kōtarō’s book The Chieko Poems (Green Integer, 2007), and his Japanese translations have appeared in such literary magazines as Spoon River Poetry Review, Artful Dodge, Poet Lore, Tampa TransfeCe Nicholas Swett is a translator and cellist from New York City. He is currently in his fourth year at Northwestern University, pursuing a BA in Comparative Literature and a BM in Cello Performance. His focus is on Arabic and Italian literature. Currently, he is researching formal relationships between literary and musical forms in the operatic works of Egyptian composer Aziz El-Shawan. 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 MA in American Literature from the University of Tokyo, and his PhD in English Creative Writing from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. His first novel, With One More Step Ahead, was published in the US by BlazeVOX in 2009. His first poetry collection, Responsibilities of the Obsessed, was published in the US by BlazeVOX in 2013. f al


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Lynde-Recchia, Molly. Transference Vol. 2, Fall 2014, Transference, 2014,