Entries tagged with translation

Document 34: Les Revues

The following is Martin Richet’s translation of “Magazines,” the first prose poem in Opera—Works (1975); it appears in the first issue of his handsomely produced translation journal Jongler (ordering information below). It does not address the question of whiteness, which has been preoccupying us, but does address feeling states around the possibility of being a poet.

Les Revues

Tu es dans un bâtiment puis à l’extérieur. À seize kilomètres de là, tu le visualises à peine — tu vois le sol depuis le ciel au ralenti. En même temps tu sens l’hélicoptère qui s’enfonce dans la rue. L’avion fend un nuage.

Le simultané comme attribut du non ressenti. Le littéral comme attribut du ressenti. Un simple intérêt littéral pour la diversité du monde et les implications des choses.

Un abonnement à une revue que l’on considère vaguement divertissante et complètement dispensable. Un carnet de correspondance — une bénédiction — un baiser mérité. L’horticulture variégée vue à la lumière ambiante. Les petites boîtes de plantes, les pots en céramique, les tiges vertes coupées, des tâches simples.

La gestion compliquée des tâches simples. Tu t’abonnes à une revue, la revue arrive, tu y jettes un oeil et tu t’inquiètes.

Les revues, c’est possible ?

*     *     *
… More

Nowa poezja amerykanska (New American Poetry), special issue of Literatura na swiecie (Warsaw) no. 11–12 (2010). Featuring poetry translated into Polish by Lyn Hejinian, Tony Hoagland, Elizabeth Willis, Peter Gizzi, Lisa Jarnot, Harryette Mullen, Forrest Gander, Cole Swensen, Barrett Watten, John Yau, and David Schubert; with essays, reviews, and interviews; www.literaturanaswiecie.art.pl.

… More

At our recent conference in Mainz, Germany, on collectivity and literature, David Simpson (a critic of romanticism who made the theory/cultural studies turn in the 70s and has produced a number of significant and wide-ranging works since then) presented a keynote lecture titled “After 9/11: The Fate of Strangers,” on the position of the foreigner (stranger; étranger; Fremde) in writing. Simpson cited a range of post–9/11 fiction and the spontaneous outpouring of poetry opposed to American military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan. I mentioned that, through the last decade, poets had also been interested in the status of other languages in their work as foreign and strange, and were investigating questions of alterity, opacity, and mistranslation through a range of experimental strategies. An example of the preservation of an individual word as “stranger” in a language appears with the German context of Fremdwörter, which are generally pronounced as closely to their original language as possible. Adorno had written, suggestively, on this embedding of the other in German: “Die Fremdwörter sind die Jüde der Sprache” (Foreign words are the Jews of language). A bit later, Simpson asked me for particulars of this practice (Cary Nelson also wondered what the hell was interesting about opacity and mistranslation; I responded that it was a site of cultural learning). I had just seen three readers in Berlin exploring the poetics of multi-languaged embedding and mis/translation (Eugene Ostashevsky, Uljana Wolf, and Christian Hawkey, with the texts by recently deceased Russian poet Alexei Parshchikov added to the mix) at an art space in Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin, named (significantly) “Ausland.” Not feeling that all the examples I knew of were coming to mind readily, I took the question to Facebook and have started a short bibliography. The criteria for inclusion here are: investigatng the opacity and otherness of multiple languages using experimental techniques; interrogating translation as a cultural politics; and publishing the results after 2001 (with a few exceptions). The list will be updated as more titles become available (contact b/c at barrett.watten@gmail.com).

Multi-Language Poetry After 2001
(compiled by Barrett Watten and friends; in process)

Dorantes, Dolores. SexoPUROsexoVELOZ and Septiembre. Trans. Jen Hofer. Kenning Editions, 2008. “Translator’s Note.” Other language (OL): Spanish.

Funkhouser, Chris. “perdido em transcreation: chuck(l)in’ globalization.” OL: French, Spanish, Portuguese. Available here.

Hadley, Jozuf Bradajo. 2 Poems. With CD. Tinfish, 2006. OL: Hawaiian Pidgin.

Iijima, Brenda. Glossematics, Thus. Least Weasel, 2011. OL: t/k.

Kanae, Lisa Linn. Sista Tongue. Tinfish, 2001. OL: Hawaiian Pidgin.

Karasick, Adeena. The House that Hijack Built. Talonbooks, 2004. “Phat Freitag” and  the homolinguistic translation of the Sefer Yetzirah (The Book of Letters). OL: Hebrew, German.

———. Amuse Bouche. Talonbooks, 2009. “What Have You Done with My Cabbala?” OL: Hebrew.

Kim, Myung Mi. Commons. U California P, 2002. “Works.” OL: Korean.

Lang, Abigail, and Thalia Field. A Prank of Georges. Essay Press, 2010. “From a poetry translation workshop hosted by Tamara Foundation in Paris, 2008. OL: French.

Stalling, Jonathan. Yingeleshi: Sinophonic English Poetry and Poetics. Denver: Counterpath, 2011. OL: Chinese.

Torres, Edwin. The All-Union Day of the Shock Worker. Roof, 2001. “A Nuyo-Futurist’s Manifestiny.” OL: Spanish.

———. The Popedology of an Ambient Language. Atelos, 2007. “The Impossible Sentence”; “Transla-lation-tion.” OL: Spanish.  

Tuntha-obas, Padcha. composite. diplomacy. Tinfish, 2005. OL: Thai.

Zolf, Rachel. Neighbour Procedure. Coach House, 2010. “Innocent Abroad.” OL: Hebrew, Arabic.

[More entries t/k]


Selections from Slechte Geschiedinis (Bad History), trans. Samuel Vriezen, Parmentier 19, no. 1, special issue on “Documentaire poëzie” (Documentary Poetics; March 2010), 48-56.


De eerste Parmentier van dit jaar staat grotendeels in het teken van hedendaagse ‘documentaire poëzie’ uit Amerika. Documentaire poëzie is poëzie die zich nadrukkelijk presenteert als een vorm van documentatie en zich plaatst te midden van allerhande nieuwsfeiten, historische gebeurtenissen en situaties. In het door hen samengestelde en ingeleide dossier laten Arnoud van Adrichem, Frank Keizer en Samuel Vriezen zien wat er gebeurt wanneer documentaire vormen als krantenberichten, wetteksten en beleidsrapporten onderdak krijgen in de poëzie.

… More

Link 05: Plasma in Italian

“Plasma,” the lead poem in Plasma/Paralleles/”X” (Tuumba, 1979), has been translated into Italian by Gherardo Bortolotti in the online journal G A M M M (joining previous translations into French, Dutch, and site-specific sculpture). The text and link are provided below. The next thing for me to do, clearly, is to attempt a homophonic translation!


Un paradosso è mangiato dallo spazio che gli sta attorno.

Ripeterò ciò che ho detto.

Far diventare una città una stagione è come indossare occhiali da sole dentro un vulcano.

Non dimentica mai i suoi sogni.

L’effetto della mancanza d’effetto.

… More