1 feb. 2006

The key is sort of textual misprision. At the risk of sounding like Bloom again, I would argue that such misprision is the central dynamic to consider when discussing the assimilation of "foreign" poetries. We want to look for misreadings, because they will tell us more than more faithful readings do. What does an English-speaking person "see" when reading poetry translated from the Spanish? So Creeley and Koch become significant for me because they weren't major translators from the Spanish. I've decided to focus on these two figures.

Imagine two circles touching each other at a single tangential point. That's one image of poetic influence. Or two circles which overlap in about 5% of their area. At first I thought this would give me nothing to say, but it's turned out to be the opposite. That concentrated 5% becomes the zone of increased focus. It is interesting *because* it is small.

The simply bad translations of a Bly are not critically interesting. Mere mistakes, mere incompetence, are not interesting. That Bly's version is accepted as legit--that might be more worthy of note.

James Wright was a good translator though.