Tuesday, 5 February 2008

robert lowell

Boris Pasternak has said that the usual reliable translator gets the liteal meaning but misses the tone, and that in poetry tone is of course everything. I have been reckless with literal meaning, and laboured hard to get the tone. Most often this has been a tone, for the tone is something that will always more or less escape transference to another language and cultural moment. I have tried to write alive English and to do what my authors might hav done if they were writing their poems now and in America.

robert lowell, from the introduction to imitations

This book has a twofold fascination: it gives access to the private realm of a major poet, showing us how he reads his masters and peers... At the same time it provides the reader with... creative echoes to a number of important poems

george steiner, reviewing imitations

here's something about translation

1 comment:

Sorlil said...

interesting essay, I've finished my basic dictionary translation apart from a couple of words that I can't work out, not making too much sense right now but having finished the whole I'm going back to see if I can re-translate words better according to context