5 oct. 2007

Here's Susan Wheeler on Belitt:

His students could never figure out why he wasn't better anthologized, more recognized. Proffered was always that he was disparaged for his translations, those of Neruda and Lorca, Machado and others. The translations took liberties, much as Lowell's did, in his deliberate enterprise to re-imagine the poems in English, to create parallel, vital new works. Lowell weathered his own storm over like choices, but Ben did not, even though Rafael Alberti cited Ben as the best of his many translators; dismissed for these, Ben's work was dismissed in full.

Fascinating explanation. I guess I'm not the only one who find Belitt lacking as a translator! I am no particular fan of Lowell's Imitations either, but this raises the issue of why I would accept a Lowell mistranslation as a creative act, whereas I would just dismiss Belitt 's efforts to create "vital new works" out of hand.

One explanation could be that Belitt is a bad poet in the first place. Yet I've read some of his poems and he isn't as bad as his translations are. I'm not sure he's good either, though.

Or Spicer for that matter. Spicer actually has a poem in After Lorca that is demonstrably superior to the original, relatively weak Lorca text which it translates. Just one, but that is enough.

1 comentario:

Joseph Duemer dijo...

I can remember Belitt's translations being belittled as far back as the mid-1970s. In workshops & such.