6 may. 2003

What do I think of Yasusada?

1. Translation is inherent to the hoax; we expect a much lower level of achievement in translated poetry. We can always blame any defects on the translator. If this were presented as original writing in English, people would have just laughed, seen it as the parody it is.

2. It's like always giving the academy award to the movie about the holocaust. People are always suckers for "subject matter," even those who should know better.

3. I love the whole idea of a literary hoax. In fact, I aspire to do one myself one day. After all, we fake our data in literary studies anyway, in that we want our conclusions to come out a certain way, and they always do. Why not go all the way and fake the author to be studied as well? However, I would fake the author in the original language, rather than in translation.

4. I have no particular bone to pick with the poems themselves. I don't think they transcend the hoax in this case. I never read them until after the whole thing was exposed, so I don't know the extent to which I would have been fooled myself. When I was 13 or 14 I thought Kenneth Koch's "Some Latin American Poets" (from "The Pleasure of Peace") were real.