I must admit that I’ve always been baffled by the idea of reading translated poetry. Poetry is a medium that depends so fiercely on word choice, rhythm, and syntax. How could that ever be translated accurately? Especially considering that every language comes with its own structure and rhythms. In theory, it shouldn’t work. And yet, there are countless incredible poets out there who write in languages other than English, and if I want to experience their work, translations are the way to go. As much as I would love to suddenly be able to read all the languages of the world. For today’s helping, I decided to specifically seek out translated poetry, which is how I landed on this collection of five poems by Romanian poet Anastasia Gavrilovici.
Overall, I enjoyed these poems, especially the last one, “Little Things”. The imagery that Gavrilovici creates is vivid and vibrant, and even through the translation her voice still shines through. It’s muted though. It’s as if I’m experiencing her art through a filter that distorts it slightly. Not enough to significantly change its meaning, but enough to make you aware that it’s there.
To be clear, I don’t intend any of the above as a slight on the translator. As far as I can tell it’s a good translation, and I did enjoy reading the poems. There’s just always going to be a slight distance from an artwork when you’re experiencing it one voice removed from the original artist. Meaning I need to just get over it or start learning Romanian.
I wonder how long it would take to learn Romanian…
Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!