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Jun. 3rd, 2016 12:28 am
taelle: (Default)
I don't really believe in poetry translations.
No, that sounds wrong. I mean, I enjoy them, but as sort-of-fanfics - a bit like screen adaptations of novels. maybe. They are interesting in what they are doing, and they have value in themselves, but do they let you know the original poet? I love Marshak's Shakespeare sonnets, but they are not much like Shakespeare's Shakespeare sonnets in both tone and intent.
So, then, if you (if I) read poetry, this has to be done in its original language.
Only poetry is probably most difficult form of reading in a foreign language. I mean, I'm more or less fluent in English, but I know myself to have dubious pronunciation, so am I sure the English poetry sounds right in my head? (thank gods for online audios of poetry readings)
And that's English, probably my best current language. Do I dare to read in any other language? ... I do, but am I right? This post is actually brought to you by me trying Ukrainian poetry and probably being in over my head.

Here's a Polish poem so that I wouldn't be too appalled to reread this post. I am worse at reading Polish than Ukrainian, but this one has inner simplicity (and I've read three different translations).

Kamyk jest stworzeniem
doskonałym

równy samemu sobie
pilnujący swych granic

wypełniony dokładnie
kamiennym sensem

o zapachu który niczego nie przypomina
niczego nie płoszy nie budzi pożądania

jego zapał i chód
są słuszne i pełne godności

czuję ciężki wyrzut
kiedy go trzymam w dłoni
i ciało jego szlachetne
przenika fałszywe ciepło

- Kamyki nie dają się oswoić
do końca będą na nas patrzeć
okiem spokojnym bardzo jasnym

(Zbigniew Herbert)

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Sep. 5th, 2014 03:24 am
taelle: (cosy)
I swear there should be a day of the week called 'Approximate Wednesday', for me to post my reading lists.
Then again, since I work at home and frequently work through weekends... let's say it's not approximate Wednesday, it's a relative one (Wednesday in Japanese seems to be 'Water day' judging by kanji, which makes me want to interpret 'Wednes' as 'Wetness', even though I know it's not so).

Anyway. I finished Klemperer's LTI, which was scary both on the level of 'I did not know this part of history' (seriously, I somehow thought all Jews in Nazi Germany went to camps. I knew of ghettos, of course, but only related them to occupied territories) and on the level of 'this reminds me of what's happening now'.

I also finished Boris Pasternak's 1905/Lieutenant Schmidt poems. Of which I previously have read only the first one, and I still like it better. But I now kind of want to read stuff about Schmidt now.

I am reading a bunch of stuff simultaneously, which is what usually happens when I feel jumpy and tired (well, more than 3 books is what happens when I am tired - 3 is normal); most of these, I think, I have mentioned already - the Poland history guide, the lesbian Pride and Prejudice, the next October Daye book (the 5th one). I also started a bunch of new stuff - Ernest Gellner's Nations and Nationalism, Yamaori Tetsuo's book about face in Japanese culture, Paolo Virno's book on multitudes (my sister gave it to me last New Year, but it seems strangely appropriate right now. Then again, everything seems strangely appropriate right now).

I don't think I will be up for making reading plans until I finish at least something.

* * *

Jul. 31st, 2014 07:17 pm
taelle: (Leningrad)
I have been reading and rereading the latest poem by Dmitry Bykov (and reading it out loud to myself). The one about the Malaysian airliner, except that it's not. I kinda regret that it's an English-language blog that I am having here and I can't post it here too.

Because it's important to me. Especially the way it ends. You see, the way things are going here, at least 80% of the population support Putin's policy or are even more rabid than that. I am an alien here. I always knew my political and social position isn't that popular, but in the last several months it turned out that I am an alien even to a lot of ordinary 'neutral' people who keep turning out to be rabid nationalists (I am still reading Klemperer and not liking that feeling).

And on top of that, out of the remaining 20%, the ones on my side, keep saying that we are doomed to this. To madness. That my country will never ever be an ordinary country among others; that nothing will ever be right, that the country, the people, will be nothing more than a bad example to humanity: see this? Don't do things like this.

And Bykov is saying: no, that's not Russia, I don't know what it is and I am not sure how to deal with this, but there's no proof that this is actually Russia as it is.


... meanwhile I missed Wednesday again, so belated reading report:

I finished Emperor's Agent, and it was rather cool. I really grew to like those people towards the end (I had a problem with 'I remember my past lives, I was this and that great person' initially, since I have met people who said this and they were tiresome and unpleasant, but I guess you are allowed to remember being Hephaistion and Robert Dudley in past lives if you're Michel Ney in this one). I wonder whether I should now go read the first book, or whether it would be unpleasant - Elza's relationship with Moreau doesn't seem to have been a nice one.

I also finished the Robin Hood time-hopping book I mentioned last time: a lot of fun. Pity there's no sequel. And the hero's modern views are a lot of fun in contrast with those that surround him ("Robin also believes in God? Damn!")

I have read the first October Daye book and found it very good, reminding me of the first Anita Blake books (and the bit about the fish is really scary: a horror you _really_ can imagine in your life).

I have started the second one... and then, reading the blurbs for the following books on Amazon, was kind of spoiled, so I paused. But I definitely will finish this one, and probably go on reading them, so that's for my reading plans.

Meanwhile I also started a book called 'Poland: a neighbor for thousand years', which is kind of a historical guidebook. The author is confusing at times (I am not sure what he wanted to say about Polish pronunciation, for example), but less confusing in history and respectful and interested, which is good since Poland was always a touchy subject here.

* * *

Nov. 28th, 2012 03:48 am
taelle: (books)
http://firecat.dreamwidth.org/791082.html - comparison table for four translations of the same poem. Which led me to look whether I can find how it sounds in Polish, to feel which rhythm is better, and, when I couldn't find it, to try and read the original myself (stupid idea - puzzling out the meaning is far easier than trying to parse out the rhythm of the phrase - not that long, actually, since I finally learned to do that in English).

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Oct. 3rd, 2012 08:26 pm
taelle: (Leningrad)
Apparently there is a monument in Saint Petersburg to a French Canadian poet Emile Nelligan. I wonder why... (I grew unused to reading poetry in translation - I went and checked his poems and they sound quite lovely but I can't help wondering how accurate the translation is)

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Oct. 30th, 2011 04:19 am
taelle: (city)
By a complicated route usual for websurfing I came to listen James Earl Jones reading The Raven by Edgar Poe... and I like it, but something keeps being off for me in his intonation, and I can't figure out what it is. The best I can formulate is that his tone of voice seems to me a bit more monotonous than I'm used to, less amplitude. Is it that what I'm most used in listening to poetry read in English is English actors, and mostly Shakespeare? Or is it just the tone most suitable to this poem? Or just my imaginagion?

... must listen to more poetry.

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