Good hot days. I am reading Oblomov.
Good hot days. I am reading Oblomov.
On an impulse I began translating Le bateau ivre, and of course once started I couldn’t leave it unfinished. Over the next few days, in a kind of Stockholm situation, I began thinking very well of a poet I had always disliked.
Below is my complete translation. Again, it’s done quite quickly and I see many errors, but there are things I like about it.
Purse notebook May something, 2017
Norton Simon Museum
Paul Klee, “A Walk Hand in Hand”, 1921 Four figures on rocking Marian crescent moon, hairy Hockney etching line, turning stiff as bells. Chicken-headed, mask-headed, from small fingerprint house of lines and squares. Center of yellow paper, simple and important as seal. Chicken head leans down stiff & musical as Matisse dance. Mask head bent knees out, like 60s idea tiki, Oceania. Eyes all on bead wire, curve.
Starbursts from joining places body, groins & collarbones. The connective construction of body …Triadisches Ballet – connected not as separate shapes but as a single moving form … body like a puppet, a creature of effects, joints, linked mechanism.
A year on, and I am still so pleased to have had 2 pieces in Berkeley Poetry Review’s 46th. The issue is very good, and quite serious – the work was all of a high quality, and its translations were exceptional. I remember being especially struck by Rebecca Gould’s translation from 14th century Persian.
I’ve not yet bought Issue 47, but I certainly will – and when I buy it, I will buy it here.
Last night and this evening I’ve been writing interpretations of sections from Hölderlin, especially from Brod und Wein. I admire Hölderlin enormously.
These are interpretations rather than translations as I do not speak German; I depend on dictionaries and translators. As such, the following interpretations are unpublishable – but I thought you might like to see them.
I consulted this page of Susan Ranson translations for all 3 rewrites, and Robert Bly’s translation for piece 7. Bly is a real thorn in my side; though a good poet and doubtless very learned, the liberties he takes in translation seem inexcusable to me – and yet he’s the source through which so much nonEnglish poetry comes into English! “Archetypal world” … man alive. Return to your own stuff, son, if you want so badly to extend your dumb Campbellian pop psych to the people.
Anyhow, my rewrites are below the cut!
Purse notebook May 12th, ’17
The Frick Collection
“Mistress and Maid”, Vermeer, ’67
Vermeer’s jello glow. Interior ice. Lines removed. Like a digital photo trick. A bizarrely momentary scene. Uncanny capture. The gray triangle between cheek & brow, soft dart of eyelash.
The maid’s momentary could be a genre painter’s capture, except of course for extraordinary strategy, the white satin of the modeled face, but there is something in the lady’s eye triangle which seems impossible to capture.
“Girl Interrupted at Her Music”, Vermeer, ’59
Very strange to say but the laughing woman and soldier though aerated like porous rock in technique – Rembrandt – is doubtless V. The strategy could not be more different from mistress maid. It was the pose of the soldier, the amount of face he showed, which instantly responded to my doubt. The woman’s expression also – again that bizarre quality of being in progress, really unique as far as I can tell to him – but it was the soldier really. No one occludes so naturally. He is alone.
More, Holbein, 1527
French woman says “This one has a more mean face” compared to Cromwell.
Purse notebook, May 2nd 2017
I open the window – chill within, hot & cottony without. The good smells of tree wood and cut wood; they are extending the chicken condos and somehow affecting the pool (“I don’t know what they’re doing,” asserts the kid). The chickens are fretting like coyotes – long laughs followed by smokers’ chuckles, hugely involved ornate borborigmo. The trees, mostly Live Oak, leaves hard and curved like olive trees’, click as they shake and sound like sequins.
The brown chicken met with misfortune this Sunday. Let out to wander while the men worked on the pool, the brown chicken “was spooked and lost her balance” or was simply overcome by fear, found still warm but dead, without feathers disturbed. Kid kind of wishes it was the black one, whom she likes least.
Purse notebook December 28th, 2016
From the little window a hill, gray as a pig. A little tree, as distinct as a tooth in my mouth. As lined and distinct as a tooth. Later, I stand beside the road and long wood gate: I see and study a paddled cactus. Nibbed hide like ostrich skin.
The man has gone as far as he can in the out door shopping mall. My lungs stand out at the end of my cropped jacket, big white rocks. I study sights. A sage tree’s trunk strapped up with pine-green Christmas wires. The man comes back to this end again.
February 14th, 2017
The thought goes up the hill like a ramrod / for blueberries
The hiker is a glass bulb / headed up the hill for blueberries