Poetry

Visual arts, music, poetry and other forms of art.
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Mimesis
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Re: Poetry

Postby Mimesis » Sun Mar 25, 2018 10:30 pm

To Nature
Samuel Taylor Coleridge


It may indeed be fantasy when I
Essay to draw from all created things
Deep, heartfelt, inward joy that closely clings;
And trace in leaves and flowers that round me lie
Lessons of love and earnest piety.
So let it be; and if the wide world rings
In mock of this belief, it brings
Nor fear, nor grief, nor vain perplexity.
So will I build my altar in the fields,
And the blue sky my fretted dome shall be,
And the sweet fragrance that the wild flower yields
Shall be the incense I will yield to Thee,
Thee only God! and thou shalt not despise
Even me, the priest of this poor sacrifice.
"We are such stuff. As dreams are made on, and our little life. Is rounded with a sleep."
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Cancer
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Re: Poetry

Postby Cancer » Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:21 pm

Thank you very much Omoksha for posting such great poetry. Especially Richard Moult has begun to fascinate me. He reminds me of Harri Nordell, a Finnish poet who is sadly - and inevitably - untranslatable. Both have naked words. I really don't know how to put it more precisely. With no meter and sometimes just the faintest trace of referentiality, language becomes bare skin.

I see there are some non-native English-speakers on this thread beside me. And maybe some of the natives have read / written poetry in another language. My question to you is: how is ones relationship to foreign-language poetry different from ones relationship to native-language poetry? Can different languages be moving in different ways? Is all good poetry difficult enough to be practically foreign?
Tiden läker inga sår.
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Mimesis
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Re: Poetry

Postby Mimesis » Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:45 am

Cancer wrote:
Thank you very much Omoksha for posting such great poetry. Especially Richard Moult has begun to fascinate me. He reminds me of Harri Nordell, a Finnish poet who is sadly - and inevitably - untranslatable. Both have naked words. I really don't know how to put it more precisely. With no meter and sometimes just the faintest trace of referentiality, language becomes bare skin.
I am so very glad if you have found something of meaning in anything that I have shared for the same reason.

"....naked words...." - what a wonderful way to describe poetry such as this, thank you!

It is interesting to speak of this specifically in relation to Richard Moult’s poetry, as I had wondered prior to sharing any of his work whether or not it would make sense or resonate in any meaningful way to many, as he uses a lot of references to places specific to the British natural and spiritual landscape, and to the forms of these within regional language.

So nice to see however that it has translated meaningfully regardless.

Cancer wrote:
I see there are some non-native English-speakers on this thread beside me. And maybe some of the natives have read / written poetry in another language. My question to you is: how is ones relationship to foreign-language poetry different from ones relationship to native-language poetry? Can different languages be moving in different ways? Is all good poetry difficult enough to be practically foreign?
I think the language that poetry is written in is paramount to its beauty and form. For in poetry, all the meaning, symbols and experiences expressed are hidden in the way that the language is weaved. Its purpose is not only to express something, but also to express it with a certain way and beauty that is lost as soon as it is taken out of the language that gave it that unique and winding way of weaving its purpose.

I can very much relate this to something that I have been thinking of recently. Due to a book that I am currently reading, I have been trying to find translations of Racine's tragic verse. I have found a few, but it is so obvious that it simply cannot be understood or transferred properly in any language other than the French it was written in.

And, more relevantly, I think the same in relation to my attempts at reading the Kalevala. Whilst I am very grateful for there being English translations, which are in themselves very beautiful, it is simultaneously very clear that the majority of their beauty has been lost in translation, simply because their home is in the Finnish language, and its unique way of housing linguistic expression.
"We are such stuff. As dreams are made on, and our little life. Is rounded with a sleep."
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Re: Poetry

Postby Kavi » Sun Apr 15, 2018 3:10 pm

Some poetry can be translated to other languages without losing the meaning and others "cannot". This I have heard especially when discussing about Hafez, whose words in poems can have multiple different meanings in original language and these meanings are naturally lost in process of translation.
But this doesn't mean that translation isn't something you shouldn't do. Sometimes translated poems can speak in different way than the original and I think this is a good thing.
Besides this, I have heard that foreign languages are processed in different part of brain than a native language. For me mystical experiences somehow appear when reading poems in a foreign language.
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Re: Poetry

Postby Kavi » Sun Apr 15, 2018 4:24 pm

Kavi wrote:Some poetry can be translated to other languages without losing the meaning and others "cannot".
Sorry for a double post, but I needed to add a notion.
By this I don't mean to say that culturally different poetry couldn't still be translated to one's native language.
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Re: Poetry

Postby Cancer » Tue Apr 24, 2018 12:33 am

Omoksha wrote:"....naked words...." - what a wonderful way to describe poetry such as this, thank you!

It is interesting to speak of this specifically in relation to Richard Moult’s poetry, as I had wondered prior to sharing any of his work whether or not it would make sense or resonate in any meaningful way to many, as he uses a lot of references to places specific to the British natural and spiritual landscape, and to the forms of these within regional language.
It is precisely this alien quality in Moult that appeals to me. I'm used to English as a language of rigid distinctions and specialized, technical vocabulary (in philosophy and literary theory, for example), a kind of contemporary Latin. Experiencing it suddenly as a sensually muddled flow of images, apparently bound to a specific location, can be startling for me. Not all English-language poetry manages to subvert my expectations this way. Some of it - say the sonnet by Coleridge above, which I like - feels almost as conceptually bright, as "rational", as any piece of beautiful philosophical prose. It is as if this kind of clear poetry, that is never in danger of dissolving into near-meaningless rushes of sound, wanted to be applicable anytime, anywhere - wanted to belong to "world-literature", as practically all of the most famous Western poets do. Universality is, of course, a prerequisite for certain kinds of greatness. But maybe there is also another way, another species of poetic strength, so intimately in touch with nature and flesh that it cannot be fully transferred across cultures even if the receiver learns the relevant language. Moult and Nordell seem, for me, to possess this kind of strength; the latter I can understand, because he writes in my mother tongue - whereas the former I can only misunderstand. Or so I could try to describe the exciting mix of recognition and strangeness that I feel when confronted with his texts.

Kavi wrote:Sometimes translated poems can speak in different way than the original and I think this is a good thing.
I recently failed to translate Hart Crane's "The Broken Tower" into Finnish. The results of my failure can be read in the Finnish forum's thread for poetry. Crane's super-civilized, allusion-rich English, about half of which not only emulates but actually is Latin, really made me feel like a barbarian. But then again translating poetry can only make sense as a barbaric violence, as more or less forcefully taking the poem from its author and turning it into something new. At some point in the work one must begin to feel as if the original were the less essential of the texts, as if it were a fragment or a sketch toward the real poem, that will‚ of course, be written by me. I don't like most new Finnish translations of pre-modernist poetry at all. They tend to be so "faithful" (I'd rather say "information-based"), that there's no room for the language itself to play and unfold. In them, poetry is often treated as if it were only created once. As if poems that don't suggest further poems were anything more than dead objects.
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Re: Poetry

Postby Kavi » Wed Apr 25, 2018 4:18 pm

Just briefly to mention, I actually enjoyed your translation, Cancer!
I have not learned to use rhyming in my works and because of that I have always seemed to despise the use of rhymes. Until now, as I think rhymes and meter can work if text is written before hand, for example for music.

Have you any good tips in order to become a better writer?
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Re: Poetry

Postby Mimesis » Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:58 am

Kavi wrote:Some poetry can be translated to other languages without losing the meaning and others "cannot". This I have heard especially when discussing about Hafez, whose words in poems can have multiple different meanings in original language and these meanings are naturally lost in process of translation.
I think the balance between meaning and metre is what is important with poetic translation. Poetry is after all not solely about what is said, but also how it is said and the image that its effect evokes. It is like painting a picture, only using words rather than paint. The colours available to the 'painter' will inevitably change depending on the language, and therefore also the context and effect of the colours being used. But that does not necessarily deprive it of being beautiful, vital and necessary.

Kavi wrote:But this doesn't mean that translation isn't something you shouldn't do. Sometimes translated poems can speak in different way than the original and I think this is a good thing.
Cancer wrote:At some point in the work one must begin to feel as if the original were the less essential of the texts, as if it were a fragment or a sketch toward the real poem, that will‚ of course, be written by me. I don't like most new Finnish translations of pre-modernist poetry at all. They tend to be so "faithful" (I'd rather say "information-based"), that there's no room for the language itself to play and unfold. In them, poetry is often treated as if it were only created once. As if poems that don't suggest further poems were anything more than dead objects.

If my understanding of the translations that I have read of Kleist is correct, for example, Ach is a far more meaningful suggestion in German than its only counterpart in English, being Oh, can be.
Things like this undoubtedly effect the weight of meaning and effect in translation, but with a sympathetic and thorough translator, it is absolutely something that must continue to be done. And exactly as you both say, it gives a kind of dynamic and new life to a work. A new poem, essentially, born from its origin.

Talking of this makes me realise how much poorer I am for only being able to use my native language. I think it would be very meaningful to more deeply understand the intricacies of meaning behind text that you must undoubtedly become closer to with the work of translation and commitment to the expression of meaning and effect in its process.
"We are such stuff. As dreams are made on, and our little life. Is rounded with a sleep."
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Mimesis
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Re: Poetry

Postby Mimesis » Mon May 21, 2018 10:51 pm

[verse extract from] The Death of Empedocles
Friedrich Hölderlin

Ha! Jupiter, liberator! nearer draws
And nearer my hour, and from the chasm
There comes already the true messenger
Of night, the evening wind, bearer of love.
It comes to being! It is ripe! Oh heart,
Beat now, and rouse your inward surge; the Spirit
Is above you like a cluster of bright stars,
While through the heavens, homeless evermore,
The rack of clouds goes past in constant flight.
I am content; some place in which to offer
Sacrifice is all I further crave. I feel
Heart's ease. O bow of Iris, as you are,
When the wave leaps in clouds of silver spray
Above downrushing waters, so is my joy.
"We are such stuff. As dreams are made on, and our little life. Is rounded with a sleep."
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Re: Poetry

Postby obnoxion » Wed May 30, 2018 9:34 pm

A question on languege that perhaps some of our native English speakers coild answer;

In his poem "Pied Beauty", Gerald Manley Hopkins makes a comparison between "fresh-firecoal" and "chestnut-falls". I've understood that a dark coal hot with an orange heart is not unlike a dark chestnut that has split open, revealing its brighter insides. But does "chestnut-falls" somhow signify a chestnut split open, or what? By the looks of it, the only thing that comes to mind are waterfalls that are somehow chestnuty, but that doesn't seem to fit... Or does it?
One day of Brahma has 14 Indras; his life has 54 000 Indras. One day of Vishnu is the lifetime of Brahma. The lifetime of Vishnu is one day of Shiva.

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