Friday, March 06, 2009

Writing poetry

I have recently been thinking the poetry that I have written over the past number of years, and I have realized that I have been very lax in the amount of poetry that I have written in recent years:
Why am I going back to an interest in poetry? Well in my recent studying of Spanish and my trips to Chile, I was introduced to Pablo Neruda's poetry. Of course, with any new language, one has to trust the translator to some level while simultaneously wanting to learn the language enough to fully appreciate the full meaning of the poem.

One thing about language is that words don't have the same nuance meaning or associated image in one language to another. This idea was captures very well up by Lydia Davis in her short story "French Lesson I: Le Meurtre" in Break it Down:
"A French arbre is not the elm or maple shading the main street of our New England towns in the infinitely long, hot and listless, vacant summer of our childhoods, which are themselves different from the childhoods of French children, and if you see a Frenchman standing on a street in a small town in American pointinig to an elm or maple and calling it an arbre, you will know this is wrong. An arbre is a plane tree in an ancient town aquared with lopped, stubby branches and patchy, leprous bark standing in a row of similar plane trees across from the town hall, in front of which a bicycle ridden by a man with thich, reddish skin and and old cap wavers past and turns into a narrow lane. ... An arbre can also caset a pleasant shade and keep la maison cool in the summer, but remember that la maison is not wood-framed with a widow's walk and a wide front porch but is laid out on a north-south axis, is built of irregular, sand-colored blocks of stone, and has a red tile roof, small square windows with green shutters, and no windows on the north side, which is also protected from the wind by a closely planted line of cypresses, while a pretty mulberry or olive may shade the south. ..."
Therefore, if I read a Neruda poem, like "Agua Sexual", the image created in my mind with the translated lines: 
"Rolling down in big and distinct drops,
in drops like teeth,
in heavy drops like marmalade and blood."
is very vivid, painting pictures in my mind and sensations at my fingertips. However, are these the images and sensations the poet wanted to evoke when he wrote in Spanish:
"Rodando a goterones solos,
a gotas como dientes,
a espesos goterones de mermelada y sangre," 
So what does this have to do with my writing? Well, I want to use this re-sparked interest in poetry to help me with learning and writing Spanish (and since Neruda wrote a lot about water, this is something that I can associate myself with emotionally).

1 comment:

FBK said...

Very clearly we can see a peak in your poetic production when you first encountered me, and a resurgence when our paths crossed again. I'm gonna start charging you.