Thursday, September 24, 2009

My attention's been drawn to two new books that look more than interesting:

Alistair Noon's translation of August Stramm - Alistair will be known to readers of Litter, and is producing some interesting translation work at the moment. I wonder if he'll be translating W.S. Graham into German anytime soon? Germanophones are really deprived there.

Peter Gizzi's new book New Depths of Deadpan, which I can't wait to get my hands on.


Alistair Noon said...

Hi Alan

Thanks for mentioning the Stramm.

I did indeed have a go at translating a bit of Graham into German a while back, but had to admit defeat. Or at least felt I was running into sand. Though I don't usually have much of a problem translating standard-ish English into reasonable German, I don't really have the linguistic resources to get WSG's mix of simplicity and strangeness adequately into German. I do take the opportunity whenever I can of banging on about him to German poets in the hope that he might get translated by a native speaker (which is of course the way round that translation of any kind, whether poetic or not, tends to work.)

I have had a bash at putting Bunting and Reznikoff into German and the results turned out better I think. There's something the Boy from Greenock does which makes his style harder to translate...

best from Berlin

Alan Baker said...

Hi Alistair

I was half-kidding about you putting WSG into German - as you say, you'd probably need a native speaker to do it. I just remember you saying once how Larkin (I think it was) was known in Germany, but WS Graham and Bunting weren't due to lack of translations.


Alistair Noon said...

Yeah, I was probably talking about how translation can actually skew our view of other literatures - we tend to equate what's translated with what's there. The people who get translated first tend to be the people who are big names in their own country or literature, but what's big is not necessarily what's good of course.

There is actually a good translation of Briggflatts, Chomei at Toyoma and the 2nd Book of Odes into German by Elmar Schenkel, came out in 1990 but it doesn't seem to have made many waves.

Alan Baker said...

Hmm, Elmar Schenkel... he's in that book '5 poets from Saxony' from Shearsman. I'll have to take a look at that.