4 jul. 2012

Imagism as Default

Strong active verbs, simple, Anglo-Saxon vocabulary, concision (absence of pleonasm and redundancy), concrete visual or sensory images. short, punchy lines.

You might say there is a default position for good writing, a kind of Pound / Hemingway consensus. Not to say that all good writing follows these principles, but many of us have internalized them, so that, for example, it would be natural to prefer

I bought a dishmop / having no daughter

to many other possible modes of expression. When translating, or even writing our own poetry, a lot of us strive for a kind of WCW default.

The sun / breaks in the black / air / on an axis / of air, / a knot, / a whirling / vortex of sun / in the slender / air.

I'm not suggesting there is anything wrong with this default or fallback position. In fact, I tend to prefer it, and usually need a good reason not to use it, especially in translation.

3 comentarios:

Vance Maverick dijo...

Spirit of the age, I think. But aren't you also a fan of Stevens? Plenty of padding there, verging sometimes on bafflegab.

Are there ever cases, in translating, where you feel that the style of the original, if carried over into English, would have the wrong effect? Say, that it's terse in a Poundian way, but that terseness doesn't mean in Spanish what it does for us in English>

Vance Maverick dijo...

I mean, "?"

Jonathan dijo...

Yes. That's why it's a default, not a rigid rule but rather a tendency.