ModPo 2019 begins!

First week

It all started yesterday
So already I’m a day behind
But it’s ok – It’s still the weekend
For me that makes it all on schedule

This year I’m making an effort
To steer away from the orthodoxy
Of thought and analysis
In understanding the poems we cover

Week one makes it easy –
There are only the two poets,
Whitman and Dickinson –
And I have a plan for cognitive diversity :

How a translator deals with her dashes
And rule-breaking and syntax shifting –
How Whitman changes with each reader
And each time it is read (“To have great poets
you must have great audiences too!”)

And each week I’ll attempt
a wrap-up poem, like This.
And each week I hope to memorize
something tweet able from the list.

2 thoughts on “ModPo 2019 begins!

  1. Hey y’all. Not necessarily meaning to bury this thought in a thread, but…

    So I stumbled upon a famous Brazilian translator’s work with Dickinson’s poems, and what better place than global studies to discuss such a phenomenon.

    Translation places extra emphasis on getting the line breaks right, getting Dickinson’s crazy syntax shifts represented with some degree of approximation, and dealing with her choice of grammatical rule violations (she was quite radical, right?) as they translate across tongues.

    Of course, Portuguese being such a diasporic language (if such a thing exists, i just made it up), when I bounce the Brazilian translations off my Continental Portuguese speaking spouse, additional variations are introduced and new considerations emerge. Rhymes, imperfect though they are throughout Dickinson’s work, have to be accommodated, giving rise to my assertion in week 4 that when Countee Cullen laments “making a poet black and bidding him sing,” that is less about race and more about English, the hardest language to make poetry in, but we’ll save that for week 4!

    All together, moving Dickinson across languages really sheds some new light on her genius and on the obvious pain she seems to be enduring.

    This is all very non-specific and for that I deeply apologize. But wait and see where I go with Whitman!


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