The office of the translator

I welcome the comments of Larry Venuti, especially since his great books on the poetics of translation have been crucial for thinking about the issues he raises. It's important that we face the problems with the English-based format of this blog as well as inherent biases in the project (and the excess of Americans like us). But perhaps this is a place to discuss just the issues you raise, perhaps that is the value. (So I second Murat's response.) No blog can possibly do justice to the range of poetry being produced in 2007, much less over a longer period. But perhaps here we can form a provisional alliance along lines of "affinity" rather than "foreignness." The problem is that the "otherness" of "foreignness" might become a justification, esp. in the US, for turning a deaf ear to immediately and "locally" (in the aesthetic and ideological but not geographical sense) relevant work in poetry and poetics being done in many places and many languages -- and make even more invisible the translator and the translator’s office -- things that you, Larry, have written so eloquently about. In 2007, it may also be that those of who congregate at this site have more in common than we have with many in our nation-language official poetry institutions. Perhaps this "we" -- this emergent local -- needs a place of its own not because we are foreign to one another but just because we are not.

1 comment:

Murat said...


"The emergent local," the objective reality of a "radical subjective," is exactly what I think we are talking about.

My greatest surprise -more specifically, affirmation- since I joined this blog is to discover how certain themes, ideas seem toemerge in seemingly completely unrelated places -Holland, Turkey, Vietnam, Japan, The United States, etc. The theme of animism, which to me represents a profound departure from the modernist aesthetics, is one of them.

Another is the ambiguity which seems to emerge in the relationship between sound and meaning, the eye joining in a dynamic way. The trinity of meaning emerging here is, it seems to me, quite different from the aesthetic of concrete poetry in the West.

The idea of "silliness" or accent or Linh's translations of Vietnamese folk poems all seem to strive towards that emergent local.

The post-modern is the assertion of the "other" -not as an act of fairness or charity or nobless oblige- but as a force of its own. It suggests, points to the connective points, the contours, of a new social order, beyond national borders. In that respect, it represents the angelic side of the new global "state."