27 ago. 2008

I've sometimes thought of writing a book along the lines of Jacques Barzun's An Essay on French Verse / for Readers of English Poetry (New Directions, 1981). It would be an introduction to poetry in Spanish for readers of poetry in English. Very different from Barzun's book in that Spanish is not French, and I am far from being Jacques Barzun. But a book with an equivalent function, covering both Spain and Spanish America. Perhaps the writing of the Princeton Encyclopedia article on Spanish poetry, which I will do shortly, will help clarify things a bit. Certainly it would be a natural extension from my book on Lorca. I like Barzun's brevity--126 pp plus a translation of a Victor Hugo poem, and his clear-headed explanations of prosody. I must have read this book in the 80s at some point. I've recommended it to people since, and am now re-reading it to see whether it provides a model. Probably not in any literal sense, but James Laughlin must have known what he was doing to publish it.

Top Misconceptions about Spanish Poetry:

1) The verso libre of Lorca and Neruda is comparable to "free verse" in the American tradition.

2) Spanish and Latin American poetry of the twentieth century is mostly surrealist.

3) The Spanish romance is a "ballad."

4) Translations into English of 20th century Spanish are mostly pretty good or adequate.

5) What we really need are more translations of Lorca, Miguel Hernández, and Neruda.

[Udpate: dude is still alive. Wow. He was born in 1907.]

1 comentario:

Chris dijo...

Being guilty of 1 and 4 and to some degree 2, it appears I could sorely use the proposed book :)