Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Morning Coffee: "Cosmic Strut," Poetry, Translation

[Mahavishnu Orchestra, "Cosmic Strut," from Visions of the Emerald Beyond, 1975].

Canary sips thoughtfully at a cafe con leche...while lobster wishes grumpily for aquatic doughnuts...

"Cheer up, lobster! It's still National Poetry Month!"

As Dryden wrote in the introduction to Absalom and Achitophel:

"Yet if a poem have a genius, it will force its own reception in the world; for there's a sweetness in good verse, which tickles even while it hurts..."

How about this, "Cadmus Reminisces" by Sandra Kasturi? (You can find it in her collection, The Animal Bridegroom).

"Dragon's teeth
sown in our backyard
produced such an inundation
of small, fat iguanas
that Mother and Father
had several suitcases made."

Or this, "Small Moth" by Sarah Lindsay in her Twigs & Knucklebones collection?

"She's slicing ripe white peaches
into the Tony the Tiger bowl
and dropping slivers for the dog
poised vibrating by her foot to stop their fall
when she spots it, camouflaged,
a glimmer and then full-on --
happiness, plashing blunt soft wings
inside her as if it wants
to escape again."

Edith Grossman's just-published Why Translation Matters (Yale University Press) gets a good review from Richard Howard in this morning's New York Times (click here for the entire review). Howard highlights this quote from Grossman:

“Where literature exists, translation exists. Joined at the hip, they are absolutely inseparable, and, in the long run, what happens to one happens to the other. Despite all the difficulties the two have faced, sometimes separately, usually together, they need and nurture each other, and their long-term relationship, often problematic but always illuminating, will surely continue for as long as they both shall live.”

Canary goes for more coffee, and says to lobster-under-the-waves: "See, my dear, I love you thus!"

Lobster waves one slick-mottled claw...and foregoes dreams of doughnuts.

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