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Most beautiful poetry translation? Options
TheParser
Posted: Wednesday, July 06, 2016 4:30:23 AM
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Thinking that some members and some guests may like poetry (and the art of translation), I am delighted to share something that I read a few minutes ago. ENJOY!


"His [Ezra Pound's] most perfect book, Cathy, published in 1915, is the most beautiful volume of translated poetry in the English language. [my emphasis] It is also -- as Chinese scholars may have realized more fully than Western ones -- a milestone in cultural relations between the Anglophone world and Chinese culture. However inaccurate, however problematically refracted via Japanese culture, Pound's versions of Chinese poems recast from Fenollosa's manuscripts are (controversial) classics of the poet-translator's art." [my emphasis]


Source: "He was the man" by Robert Crawford in the London Review of Books, 30 June 2016. Mr. Crawford reviews Vol. III of A. David Moody's biography of Ezra Pound.
Lotje1000
Posted: Wednesday, July 06, 2016 4:42:16 AM

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Does the source also happen to mention why it is "the most beautiful volume of translated poetry in the English language"?
Gary98
Posted: Wednesday, July 06, 2016 9:46:52 AM

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Lotje1000 wrote:
Does the source also happen to mention why it is "the most beautiful volume of translated poetry in the English language"?


Search "cathay ezra pound" for a pdf copy of the book.
Lotje1000
Posted: Wednesday, July 06, 2016 9:57:05 AM

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Given he was in the process of reading it, I was hoping TheParser could fill me in.
thar
Posted: Wednesday, July 06, 2016 1:05:21 PM

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I was a bit confused by 'Cathy'. It sounds like a very modern work. Maybe it reminds me of 'Cathy Come Home' an early gritty realistic TV drama about homelessness. (I haven't seen it, so that is just cultural association).

'Cathay', on the other hand, makes more sense as a Chinese origin work in the classical mode.
Although it does still mostly make me think of the airline. But I think that is my Philistinism showing.


It is one of those typos that can really change the meaning. Eh? Whistle
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Wednesday, July 06, 2016 1:59:01 PM

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In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
TheParser
Posted: Thursday, July 07, 2016 3:29:07 AM
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Thank you, VERY much, Jyrkka Jatka.

I posted this information for those members and guests who are interested in poetry (and the art of translation).

Personally, I have never been interested in poetry. I realize that it's my loss. Poetry, I am told, can express feelings that regular writing cannot.

Anyone who likes English poetry presumably has read Ezra Pound's poems.

The only thing that I know about Mr. Pound is that he was considered a traitor to the United States during World War II.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, July 07, 2016 7:30:12 AM

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To tell the truth, though I do like English poetry, if it's poetic, I don't think I have ever read one of Ezra Pound's poems until today - not a poet who's exactly popular with English teachers.

This sounds rather stilted.

Here we are, picking the first fern-shoots
And saying: When shall we get back to our country?
Here we are because we have the Ken-nin for our foemen,
We have no comfort because of these Mongols.


I prefer the translation of the same stanza by Yang Yixian and Dai Naidie

We gather vetch, gather vetch,
While the young shoots are springing;
Oh, to go back, go back;
But the year is ending.
We have no house, no home,
Because of the Huns.
We cannot sit or take rest,
Because of the Huns.



Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Thursday, July 07, 2016 10:12:53 AM

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My favourite English poet was, and has been, T.S. Eliot. My Mother tongue and my English teachers in high school allied in a conspiracy to make me translate some of Eliot's poems not yet translated into Finnish at that time (70's). I even tried some from Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.

I also read Ezra Pound at that same time. Not Cathay, though.


In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
TheParser
Posted: Tuesday, July 12, 2016 8:01:15 AM
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Just to once again thank Gary, Thar, and DragOnspeaker for their contributions to this thread.

People who like poetry may decide to check out a copy of "Cathy" at a good library.


Have a nice day!
tunaafi
Posted: Tuesday, July 12, 2016 4:52:01 PM

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TheParser wrote:

People who like poetry may decide to check out a copy of "Cathy" at a good library.


Cathay
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Sunday, July 17, 2016 5:11:57 PM

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Some people just don't know the difference of Cathy and Cathay, or Jyrkkä Jätkä and Jyrkka Jatka.


In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
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