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Me and Sylvia at the Memorial (April 2009)


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Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

🦋 Selling Books

Karen Lillis spent the end of the 20th Century and beginning of the 21st working as a clerk at St. Mark's Bookshop; she inaugurates her new monthly column at Undie Press with some engaging reminiscences from that time and some reflections on independent bookselling in the US.

Update: Jen Michalski of JMWW has a great interview with Lillis about independent bookselling, about libraries and bookstores, about her memoir project and about her memories...

posted evening of September 28th, 2010: Respond
➳ More posts about Book Shops

🦋 Twisting and turning

Michael Jacobson, blogger at The New Post-Literate, has started working on an "asemic novel" consisting (so far) of animated logograms -- he is documenting the work in progress at a new blog, Mynd Eraser.

(I love the scribbles running off the page and reconstituting themselves...)

posted afternoon of September 28th, 2010: Respond
➳ More posts about Logograms

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

🦋 Leaves of grass

Radoslav Radoslavov Valkov of Bulgaria won the under-21 category of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management's Environmental Photographer of the Year contest for 2010 with this gorgeous picture of a fly taken in his back yard. (Thanks for the link, Djini!)

posted afternoon of September 26th, 2010: Respond
➳ More posts about Pretty Pictures

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

🦋 Distance

Something you will occasionally see in books translated from a foreign language and published in America, is that metric units of measurement are rendered as English units*, with no conversion of the number next to the units, e.g. "cinco kilogramos" is rendered as "5 pounds". I'm not sure how often this happens, I have noticed it a couple of times and it's driven me just batty. (Also have seen it with monetary units, "cien francs" being translated as "100 dollars" which does not make much sense either.) I believe the thinking behind it is something on the order of, someone reading this story in the original language would get an immediate sense of what 5 kg means, where a US reader would need to pause and convert it mentally -- at the very least it seems to me every time I notice this that it at least ought to be rendered as "ten pounds" or whatever, to keep the meaning the same.

Well: when Saramago was writing The Elephant's Journey he faced a similar issue in terms of translating archaic units of distance into metric, and he came up with a very tidy, winning solution. Check this out -- on the first day of the journey, Subhro is reckoning how far they have travelled:

posted afternoon of September 25th, 2010: Respond
➳ More posts about The Elephant's Journey

Friday, September 24th, 2010

🦋 Beginning of the Journey

Strange though it may seem to anyone unaware of the importance of the marital bed in the efficient workings of public administration, regardless of whether that bed has been blessed by the church or state or no one at all, the first step of an elephant's extraordinary journey to austria, which we propose to describe hereafter, took place in the royal apartments of the portuguese court, more or less at bedtime.
And so The Elephant's Journey opens in the marital chambers of John III of Portugal and his queen Catherine of Hapsburg -- John III is (IIUC) great-great-grandfather to John V, in whose marital chambers Baltasar and Blimunda will open two centuries later. And The Elephant's Journey is seeming in its first few chapters like it is very much going to be a masterpiece on the order of Baltasar and Blimunda and The History of the Siege of Lisbon. I could hardly imagine anything better...

posted evening of September 24th, 2010: Respond
➳ More posts about José Saramago

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

🦋 Publication!

(Well not until next summer, but still...) I got word today from Words Without Borders that they love my translation of Réquiem and are going to publish it in their "Homages" issue next July. I'm tremendously excited about this! I remember a line of Edith Grossman's to the effect that the way to be a translator is to assert that you are a translator, to just go ahead and do it; and now I feel like I am a translator, like I am going ahead and doing it. I also heard from John Carvill of the brand-new site oomska that he wants to publish my translation of Pablo Antonio Cuadra's "Black Boat". This is great... I think I will look around for a new story to start working on, maybe something by Soledad Puértolas.

posted evening of September 23rd, 2010: 8 responses
➳ More posts about Translation

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

🦋 La bella nadadora

Speaking of Altazor, I found on YouTube a reading of the Prologue that I've been translating over the last few weeks. Clémence Loonis is reading:

My translation of this section below the fold.

posted evening of September 22nd, 2010: Respond
➳ More posts about Altazor: The Journey by Parachute

🦋 Weinberger as translator

In Canto V of Altazor it seems like Weinberger is really coming in to his own -- this is the first Canto where I can really read the translation without constantly looking back to the original to see what rhythm and meaning Huidobro was getting at, the point at which Weinberger's poem becomes a poem of its own.

Here begins the unexplored land
Round on account of the eyes that behold it
Profound on account of my heart
Filled with likely sapphires
Sleepwalking hands
And aerial burials
Eerie as the dreams of dwarfs
As the branch snapped off in infinity
The seagull carries to its young
There is one point though, where I think his translation could really be improved upon. The long repetitive, chanting section that begins
Jugamos fuera del tiempo
Y juega con nosotros el molino de viento
Molino de viento
Molino de aliento
Molino de cuento
Molino de intento...
Weinberger renders as,
We play outside of time
And the windmill plays along
The wind mill
The mill of inspiration
The mill of narration
The mill of determination
The mill of proliferation...
(and keep in mind that this goes on for another 200 or so lines) -- I love his word choice but think it would flow much better together if every line is turned end-to-end, thus:
We play outside of time
And the windmill plays along
With that singsong rhythm set up I can plow full steam ahead through the pages filled with just Exaltationmill/ Inhumationmill/ Maturationmill/ etcetera etcetera...

A couple of lovely lines from earlier in the canto, in my own translation:

So let us light a pyre beneath the oracle
To placate destiny
Let us feed solitude's miracles
With our own flesh
So in the cemetery, sealed off
And beautiful, like an eclipse
The rose breaks its bonds and blossoms beyond the grave
Laugh, laugh, before fatigue arrives.

(Speaking of translation, I had some potentially very good news from an editor at Words Without Borders, about my submission of Zupcic's Réquiem. Should know more next week.)

posted evening of September 22nd, 2010: Respond
➳ More posts about Readings

🦋 Guardian

Watching over the Basilica of St. Denis (photo by Angus McIntyre))
Dark Roasted Blend has a collection of photos of gargoyles from all over the world -- this is billed as part I, so hopefully we will get more soon. (via cleek)

posted evening of September 22nd, 2010: Respond

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

🦋 Happy Birthday, Sylvia

Sylvia's birthday party at the Raptor Trust was great fun and for me, a chance to see something new; I had never been there before. Sylvia got this great shot of a turkey vulture peering out at us.

Mountain Station played the Lenox Pl. block party and we had a ball with it. Several mix-ups on both our parts in terms of what lyrics were coming next... But from where I was standing it came out sounding very good. In the next few days I should get a chance to listen to what the recording sounds like.

posted evening of September 19th, 2010: 1 response
➳ More posts about Sylvia

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