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(March 2005)

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Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.

— Sir Francis Bacon


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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
Ventilationmill
Inspirationmill
Narrationmill
Determinationmill
Proliferationmill...
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 Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010
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