Posts Tagged ‘Tomas Tranströmer’

De Waal Venter. Huldeblyk aan Tomas Tranströmer (15 April 1931 – 26 Maart 2015)

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

 

Afgesonderde Sweedse huise

 

 

 

‘n Wirwar van swart spardenne

 

en smeulende maanstrale.

 

Hier onder lê die kleinhoewe

 

en dit lyk leweloos.

 

 

 

Tot die oggend-dou murmel

 

en ‘n ou man sy venster –

 

met bewende hand – oopmaak

 

en ‘n uil uitlaat.

 

 

 

En in ‘n ander rigting

 

staan ‘n nuwe gebou en stoom

 

met die wasgoed-skoenlapper

 

fladderend op die hoek.

 

 

 

In die middel van ‘n sterwende woud

 

waar die vermolming

 

deur ‘n bril van sap

 

die bedrywigheid van houtboorders lees.

 

 

 

Somer met vlasharige reën

 

of ‘n enkele donderwolk

 

bokant ‘n hond wat blaf.

 

Saad skop in die aarde.

 

 

 

Oproerige stemme, gesigte

 

vlieg in telefoondrade

 

op verkrimpte vinnige vlerke

 

oor die vleiland myle.

 

 

 

Die huis op ‘n eiland in die rivier

 

broei op sy klipfondament.

 

Aanhoudende rook – iemand verbrand

 

die woud se geheime papiere.

 

 

 

Die reën wentel in die lug.

 

Die lig slinger in die rivier.

 

Huise op die hoogte hou toesig

 

oor die waterval se wit osse.

 

 

 

Herfs met ‘n swerm spreeus

 

wat die dagbreek skaakmat.

 

Mense beweeg styf

 

in die lamplig se teater.

 

 

 

Laat hulle geen vrees ken nie

 

die gekamoefleerde vleuels

 

van God se energie

 

opgekrul in die donker.

 

(c) Tomas Tranströmer / Hemligheter på vägen (1958)

Vertaling deur De Waal Venter (Uit: Geheime op die weg)

 

NOTA: ‘n Volledige bundel vertaalde verse van Tranströmer kan hier gelees word.

Louis Esterhuizen. Het jy al jou Tranströmer-versameling aangevul?

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Verlede jaar is die vreugdevure omtrent hoog gestook toe die Sweedse Akademie bekend gemaak het dat die Nobelprys vir letterkunde aan die Sweedse digter Tomas Tranströmer (foto) toegeken word. En binne enkele ure na dié bekendmaking, is die enkele kopieë van Tranströmer se vertaalde poësie wat ‘n bepaalde boekwinkel in Stellenbosch beskikbaar gehad het, uitverkoop. Summier het dié winkel egter nagevors watter vertaalde werke wel nog beskikbaar was en bestel.

Dié versameling van drie titels het nou pas gearriveer en graag gebruik ek dus dié ruimte om dit onder alle poësieliefhebbers se aandag te bring.

Omslag

Omslag

Die een wat ek ten sterkste kan aanbeveel, is The Great Enigma – New Collected Poems (2006: New Directions Books) wat deur Robin Fulton saamgestel en vertaal is. Fulton se vertalings lees uiters gemaklik en toon ‘n heerlike besonderse gevoeligheid ten opsigte van ritme en klank; soos dit ‘n knap vertaler betaam.

Volgens die flapteks, die volgende: “Translated into fifty languages, the poetry of Tomas Tranströmer has had a profound influence around the world, an influence that has steadily grown and has now attained a prominence comparable to that of Pablo Neruda’s during his lifetime. But if Neruda is blazing fire, Tranströmer is expanding ice. The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems gathers all the poems Tomas Tranströmer has published, from his distinctive first collection in 1954, 17 Poems, through his epic poem Baltics (“my most consistent attempt to write music”), and The Sad Gondola, published six years after he suffered a debilitating stroke in 1990 (“I am carried in my shadow / like a violin / in its black case.”), to his most recent slim book, The Great Enigma, published in Sweden in 2004. Also included is his prose-memoir Memories Look at Me, containing keys into his intensely spiritual, metaphysical poetry (like the brief passage of insect collecting on Runmaro Island when he was a teenager). Firmly rooted in the natural world, his work falls between dream and dream; it probes “the great unsolved love” with the opening up, through subtle modulations, of ‘concrete words’.”

The Great Enigma beslaan 262 bladsye (met ‘n omvattende voorwoord) en is ‘n ‘moet hê’ teen R249.50 … Beslis die koop werd, myns insiens.

Omslag

Omslag

Die tweede boek waarvan voorraad ontvang is, is The Half-finished Heaven – The Best Poems of Tomas Tranströmer (2001: Graywolf Press) wat deur die bekende vertaler Robert Bly byeengebring en vertaal is. Alhoewel Bly se vertalings na alle waarskynlikheid net so goed soos Fulton s’n is, vind ek dit tog jammer dat dié versameling nie al die “ekstras” bied wat The Great Enigma het nie. So ontbreek ‘n alfabetiese indeks van titels en is die keuse van gedigte ook minder verteenwoordigend. Tog het ek Robert Bly se Inleiding, “Upward into the Depths” as oorsig van Tranströmer se digkuns uitstekend gevind.

As aptytwekker die volgende aanhaling: “The contemporary Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer has a prestigious worldwide reputation; many expect that he will someday win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Robert Bly, a longtime friend and confidant of Tranströmer’s, as well as one of his first translators, has carefully chosen and translated the finest of Tranströmer ‘s poems to create this cherished and invaluable collection. “

The Half-finished Heaven se verkoopsprys is R209.50 en beslaan 98 bladsye; ‘n boek wat besonder mooi uitgegee is, maar as ‘winskopie’ heelwat minder bied as The Great Enigma, myns insiens.

Omslag

Omslag

Die derde titel wat ek graag wil noem, die die uitgewery Green Integer se sakgrootte uitgawe van The Sorrow Gondola (2010); Tranströmer se voorlaaste bundel (1996: Sorgegondolen) wat met die Sweedse teks en Engelse vertaling deur Michael McGriff en Mikaela Grassl uitgegee is: “The Sorrow Gondola is the first collection of poetry Tranströmer completed after the debilitating stroke he suffered in 1990. Since its publication, it has sold over 30,000 copies in Sweden alone. This new bilingual edition offers North American readers Tranströmer’s seminal work for the first time as a single volume.” (Aldus die flapteks.)

Soos reeds vermeld is hierdie tweetalige bundel in kleinformaat (71 bladsye) met ‘n verkoopprys van R150.00.

Dus – indien jy van voorneme is om jou volgende steak & chips eerder ten gunste van ‘n Tranströmer-versameling te versaak, kan jy gerus met ‘n bepaalde boekwinkel op Stellenbosch kontak maak deur (021) 882 9100 te skakel, of ‘n e-pos te stuur na ls.protea@mweb.co.za. Maar, let asseblief daarop dat dié beperkte voorraad direk van ‘n oorsese verskaffer bestel is en derhalwe ietwat duurder is as die boeke wat later vanjaar deur Book Promotions, ‘n plaaslike verskaffer, aan Suid-Afrikaanse boekwinkels beskikbaar gestel gaan word.

Vir jou leesplesier volg een van die gedigte wat deur Robert Fulton vertaal is.

***

SOLITARY SWEDISH HOUSES

A mix-max of black spruce
and smoking moonbeams.
Here’s the croft lying low
and not a sign of life.

Till the morning dew murmurs
and an old man opens
– with a shaky hand – his window
and lets out an owl.

Further off, the new building
stands steaming
with the laundry butterfly
fluttering at the corner

in the middle of a dying wood
where the mouldering reads
through spectacles of sap
the proceedings of the bark-drillers.

Summer with flaxen-haired rain
or one solitary thunder-cloud
above a barking dog.
The seed is kicking inside the earth.

Agitated voices, faces
fly in the telephone wires
on stunted rapid wings
across the moorland miles.

The house on an island in the river
brooding on its stony foundations.
Perpetual smoke – they’re burning
the forest’s secret papers.

The rain wheels in the sky.
The light coils in the river.
Houses on the slope supervise
the waterfall’s white oxen.

Autumn with a gang of starlings
holding dawn in check.
The people move stiffly
in the lamplight’s theatre.

Let them feel without alarm
the camouflaged wings
and God’s energy
coiled up in the dark.

 

© Tomas Tranströmer (Vertaal deur: Robin Fulton)

 

 

De Waal Venter. Tomas Tranströmer – 7 vertalings

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Tomas Tranströmer

 

Award Ceremony Speech

Presentation Speech by Kjell Espmark, Member of the Swedish Academy, Member of its Nobel Committee, 10 December 2011.

“Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, esteemed Laureates, Ladies and Gentlemen,  Tomas Tranströmer is one of the very few Swedish writers with an influence on world literature. He has been translated into some sixty languages, (and now also in Afrikaans – DWV) and has been important to poetry in various parts of the world. The Nobel Laureate Joseph Brodsky admits that he stole more than one metaphor from him. And during a journey among Chinese poets a year ago I found that Tranströmer is their great model.

Why? Is it the brilliant metaphors? I think that is only half the truth. The other half is the visions, the illuminations in everyday life into which the metaphors have been inserted.”

 

Spår

Spoor

 

Twee-uur in die oggend: maanskyn. Die trein staan

in die veld. Ver ‘n dorp se liggies

wat koud flikker teen die horison.

 

Soos wanneer jy so diep in ‘n droom wegsak

jy nie eers kan onthou jy was daar

wanneer jy terugkom nie.

 

Of wanneer jy so diep wegsak in ‘n siekte

dat jou dae ‘n swerm flikkerende spikkels word,

yl en koud teen die horison.

 

Die trein staan doodstil.

Twee-uur: helder maanskyn, yl sterre.

 

 

April Och Tystnad

April en stilte

 

 

Die lente lê verlate.

Die fluweelswart watersloot

kruip hier langs my

sonder weerkaatsings.

 

Die enigste iets wat glinster

is geel blomme.

 

Ek is geborge in my skadu

soos ‘n viool

in sy swart kas.

 

Die enigste ding wat ek wil sê

glinster buite bereik

soos silwerware

in ‘n pandjieswinkel.

 

 

Två Städer

Twee stede

 

Elk aan sy eie kant van die smal see, twee stede

die een verdonker, beset deur vyande.

In die ander brand ligte.

Die skitterende kuslyn hipnotiseer die donker een.

 

Ek swem uit in ‘n beswyming

op die glinsterende donker waters.

‘n Dowwe tuba-klank dring in.

Dit is ‘n vriend se stem, vat jou graf en gaan.

 

 

Sorgegondolen nr 2

Droewe gondel

 

I

 

Twee ou mans, skoonvader en skoonseun, Liszt en Wagner, bly by die Groot Kanaal

saam met die rustelose vrou wat getroud is met koning Midas

wat alles verander wat hy aanraak in Wagner.

Die see se koue groen stoot op deur die paleisvloere.

Wagner is gemerk, sy beroemde Punch-profiel is moeër as voorheen

sy gesig ‘n wit vlag.

Die gondel is swaar gelaai met hul lewens, twee retoer en ‘n enkel.

 

II

 

‘n Venster in die paleis vlieg oop en mense frons in die skielike trek.

Buite op die water verskyn die vullisgondel geroei deur twee eenspaan-bandiete.

Liszt het ‘n paar akkoorde neergeskryf, so swaar dat hulle eintlik weggestuur moet word

na die mineralogie-instituut in Padua vir analise.

Meteoriete!

Te swaar om te dryf kan hulle net sink en sink reg deur die toekoms

tot die Bruinhemde-dae.

Die gondel is gelaai met die toekoms se opgehoopte klippe.

 

 

III

 

Loergate op 1990.

 

25 Maart. Angs vir Litaue.

Gedroom ek besoek ‘n groot hospitaal.

Geen personeel. Almal was pasiënte.

 

In dieselfde droom ‘n pasgebore dogtertjie

wat volsinne gepraat het.

 

IV

 

Langs die skoonseun, ‘n man van sy tyd, is Liszt ‘n motgevrete grand seigneur.

Dit is ‘n vermomming.

Die diepte, wat verskeie maskers aanpas en verwerp, het hierdie een net vir hom gekies –

die diepte wat in mense wil opstyg, sonder om ooit sy gesig te wys.

 

V

 

Abbé Liszt is gewoond om self sy tas te dra deur sneeu en sonskyn

en wanneer sy tyd kom om te sterf sal niemand hom by die stasie ontmoet nie.

‘n Ligte bries van begaafde konjak voer hom mee te midde van ‘n opdrag.

Hy het altyd opdragte.

Twee duisend briewe per jaar!

Die skoolseun wat sy spelfout honderd keer oorskryf voor hy kan huis toe gaan.

Die gondel is swaar gelaai met lewe, dis eenvoudig en swart.

 

VI

 

Terug na 1990.

 

Gedroom ek ry oor ‘n honderd myl tevergeefs.

Dan vergroot alles. Mossies so groot soos henne

het so hard gesing dat my ore toegeslaan het.

Gedroom ek teken klavierklawers

op die kombuistafel. Ek het op hulle gespeel, geluidloos.

Die bure het kom luister.

 

 

VII

 

Die klavier wat stilgebly het deur die hele Parsifal (maar geluister het) kan uiteindelik iets sê.

Sugte … sospiri …

Wanneer Liszt vanaand speel, hou hy die see-pedaal ingetrap

sodat die see se groen krag opstyg deur die vloer en saamvloei met al die klippe in die gebou.

Goeienaand pragtige diepte!

Die gondel is swaar gelaai met lewe, dit is eenvoudig en swart.

 

VIII

 

Gedroom ek moes skool toe, maar kom te laat.

Almal in die kamer se gesigte was wit maskers.

Wie die onderwyser was, kon niemand sê nie.

 

 

Ansikte mot ansikte

Van aangesig tot aangesig

 

In Februarie het die lewe tot stilstand gekom.

Voëls het gesukkel om te vlieg, en die siel

het teen die landskap geskuur soos ‘n boot

teen die brug waaraan dit vas is.

Bome het gestaan met weggedraaide rûe.

Sneeudiepte is gemeet aan dooie gras.

Voetspore het oud geword in die sneeukors.

Onder ‘n seil, vervagende taal.

Op ‘n dag kom iets na die venster.

Werk word gestaak, ek kyk op.

Kleure brand, alles keer om.

Die grond en ek spring na mekaar.

 

 

 

Published 02:48 11.10.11

    Latest update 02:48 11.10.11

 

A victory for poetry

The decision to award the Nobel Prize in Literature to Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer is a declaration of faith in poetry’s power to transcend borders.

By Eli Eliahu

 

“And I take the award of the Nobel Prize in Literature, when it is given to a poet, to be primarily an assertion of the supra-national value of poetry. To make that affirmation, it is necessary from time to time to designate a poet: and I stand before you, not on my own merits, but as a symbol, for a time, of the significance of poetry.”

It has been over 60 years since T.S. Eliot said the above in his speech at the Nobel Prize banquet. Since then, a few other poets have won the prize, including Wislawa Szymborska and Seamus Heaney, and now once again a poet has been awarded the prize, this time the Swedish poet, Tomas Transtromer. It seems that Eliot’s remarks are more relevant than ever, and the decision to award the Nobel Prize in Literature to a poet indeed is not just an award to the poet himself, but also an award to the significance of poetry and a renewed declaration of faith in its power to transcend borders and have an impact even in times when the value of things is measured solely by the number of people interested in them.

Tomas Transtromer and wife – Reuters – October 6 2011    

The name of Transtromer, who was born in 1931, has been mentioned as a candidate for several years now, but his win is still seen as a surprise. He is not exactly apolitical, but his poetry does not represent clear-cut non-conformism the way the works of other Nobel laureates did, such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn or Joseph Brodsky. Nor is the selection perceived as representing the people’s voice, the way works of Seamus Heaney or Derek Walcott are. Not everyone therefore deems Transtromer as a worthy choice. The Telegraph’s Philip Hensher noted, for example, “that time has shown every single Swedish winner of the prize to be ‘a little phenomenon of no interest’ outside their own country.”

Transtromer is indeed not a popular poet among the broader public, but his poetry has been translated into some 60 languages. His poems were translated into Hebrew by Galit Hasan-Rokem and his book, “Winter Formulae” was published in 2003 by Keshev Leshira. “Transtromer’s poetry can be considered from two perspectives,” says the publisher’s CEO, Rafi Weichert. “First, it contains material directly connected to Sweden, the images, the scenery. On the other hand, he deals with universal issues, such as the alienation that is the lot of modern man, the relationship between nature and the written word and urbanity, the place of language and poetry, the place of religion.”

The last poet to win the Nobel Prize in Literature was Wislawa Szymborska. The ease with which both poets’ works can be translated may well account for part of the choice to grant them the award.

“Transtromer’s poetry is meditative, recitative, and colored with surreal images and expressionism,” says Weichert. “It is poetry where the essence is in the content, the pictures and in this respect it is also reminiscent of the poetry of Yehuda Amichai, which is also easy to translate and has become popular around the world.”

 

A politically clean choice

Transtromer suffered a stroke in 1990 and since then has been paralyzed on one side and is unable to talk. He does continue to write and publish, but Weichert says his best poetry was written in earlier years. “I think they gave him the prize because they were worried that he would depart from this world without receiving it. This choice also conveys a message of political cleanliness. Had they chosen Adonis, for example, who I think is a great poet and certainly deserving of the prize, they would be saying that he was chosen because of the protests in Syria. And if they had chosen Amos Oz they would say that it was in order to promote the peace process. In the case of Transtromer, it is impossible to make any political arguments of this kind. Clearly, he was chosen on the merit of his poetry.”

There is something Bergman-esque about it (Tranströmer’s poetry); it will never be as popular as Szymborska’s poetry.”

Breyten Breytenbach. windeier, sommer

Friday, November 4th, 2011

windeier, sommer

In ‘n poging om die vertaalde Tranströmer vers van vanoggend uit die web te lok, te knip en dan oor te plak en aan te stuur vir ‘n ou digtersvriend (halfbroer) wat nou saam met sy Turks-Amerikaanse vrou met irisse boer iewers in Toskane – immergroen knolplant met pronkerige blomme, flap; reënboog; reënboogvlies v.d. oog: dankie, VAW – want hy staan ook met die een voet in die gapende graf van ou briewe (die vlietende reënboog is ‘n vlieslied) / en omdat ek nie weet hoe om dit te doen nie, hoe om te vertaal nie, kry ek toe die volgende resultaat. (My tata sê daar is nog baie poelpetate in die Vrystaat – jy beter jou patats oppas!)

 

Answers to Letters

In the bottom drawer of my desk I come across a letter that first arrived twenty-six years ago. A letter in panic, and it’s still breathing when it arrives the second time. A house has five windows: through four of them the day shines clear and still. The fifth faces a black sky, thunder and storm. I stand at the fifth window. The letter. Sometimes an abyss opens between Tuesday and Wednesday but twenty-six years may be passed in a moment. Time is not a straight line, it’s more of a labyrinth, and if you press close to the wall at the right place you can hear the hurrying steps and voices, you can hear yourself walking past there on the other side. Was the letter ever answered? I don’t remember, it was long ago. The countless thresholds of the sea went on migrating. The heart went on leaping from second to second like the toad in the wet grass of an August night. The unanswered letters pile high up, like cirro-stratus clouds presaging bad weather. They make the sunbeams lustreless. One day I will answer. One day when I am dead and can at last concentrate. Or at least so far away from here that I can find myself again. When I’m walking, newly arrived, in the big city, on 125th Street, in the wind on the street of dancing garbage. I who love to stray off and vanish in the crowd, a capital T in the mass of the endless text.

TOMAS TRANSTRÖMER (1981)Vertaal deur Robin Fulton.

 

Wat volg is die… (gevolg) van die poging om die ‘oorspronklike’ weer te herstel, veral die lynafbakening, en dit word toe ‘n spel van vraag en vervaging. Vraag: Hoeveel ‘stemme’ is daar opgesluit in ‘n teks? Wat is die eggo’s wat jy hoor, en hoekom? (Iewers onder die woordhopies en letterstrepies – meen jy – is daar iets waar te neem van die primordiale kreet.) Stom kreet? En dit kan nie vervals word nie? Wie toor daar in die toring? Jy kan tog nie uit die gedig ‘vertaal’ (vertaalhaal) wat nie reeds daar is nie, al waai die woorde ook weg op die wind. Vertaal is windverwoording.

Natuurlik kan dit vir ewig aanhou. Ons gaan dood, kom tot ‘n einde, omdat daar te veel alternatiewe is. Zeno se aksioom – dat die ewigheid of die oneinde bestaan (en nie bestaan nie) omdat dit wat jy wéét of hét weer en weer verdeel (en gedeel?) kan word. (En weer.) Wat se ‘spore’ bly oor van ‘n ‘eie’ (hoeveel vere van die eier) in die variante? “Le mouvement, fut-il chaotique: jusqu’ici, on n’a pas trouvé mieux contre la mort.” Synde: Beweging, al is dit ook chaoties: tot dusver het ons nog nie iets beter teen die dood gekry nie. Meerstemmige beweging?

Let daarop hoeveel slaankrag of wagkrag opgesluit lê of losgelaat word in jou keuse (?) van enjambementering. Jy sou kon argumenteer dat dit juis dáár is dat beweging ontstaan… en waar die paaie (moontlikhede) vurk. (Jy – ek? – bevraagteken die keuses gemaak, bewustelik of nié, deur die twyfelende Tomas, of sy vertaler. Jy begryp nie mooi hoekom die some juis dáár gestik is en nie elders nie. Jy ‘onteien’ die maker/versaker. Jy neem ‘n bietjie van sy las oor. En sy laste? Versmaker. Versmakker. Makkelaar. Maakmekaarmak. Die digter hakkel sy woorde tot begrippe soos die makelaar sy aandele tot wins.}  

 

answers to Letter

a letter that first

    a letter in panic, and it’s

        the second time.

four of them the day

      black sky, thunder

         window. The letter.

Tuesday and

         may be passed in a

              line, it’s more of a

wall at the right

steps and voices, you

          there on the other side.

I don’t remember, it was

         of the sea went on

             second to

                 an August night.

like cirro-stratus

             make the sunbeams

One day when I am dead

            so far away from

When I’m walking,

              in the wind

                 to stray off

                    in the mass of the endless

 

 

(“skryf is hoed afhaal en vertaal”)

 

gee my jou jas en jou tarentale

kom laat ons stotter in al die

valerwordende vokale van skemering

 

maar gee my jou taaljas

jou droomtrommel en jou maan-

oppas: dat ons saam mag vernaam

 

© Breyten Breytenbach. November 2011 

 

 

 

Louis Esterhuizen. TLS fokus op Tomas Tranströmer

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

 

In navolging van die Nobelprys vir Letterkunde wat enkele weke gelede aan die 80-jarige Sweedse digter Tomas Tranströmer toegeken is, het Times Literary Supplement (TLS) besluit om met verlede week se gereelde rubriek, Poem of the Week,  op Tranströmer se gedig Answers to Letters te fokus. Tranströmer, wie se digtersloopbaan oor bykans ses dekades strek, se gedigte is al in meer as vyftig tale vertaal. Vroeër vanjaar het daar ‘n omvattende bloemlesing met Robert Fulton as vertaler in Engeland verskyn.

Maar terug na die fokus-gedig. Volgens TLS se inleidende paragraaf, die volgende: “What is clear from ‘Answers to Letters’, however, is the way Tranströmer is able to reach deep psychological truths through images that are disarmingly clear and direct, robust enough to survive translation yet sufficiently sensitive to touch those areas of shared human experience beyond words that we ask poetry to help us understand […]The letter in this poem represents this period of panic ‘twenty-six years ago’, a moment the poet has locked away in the bottom drawer of his subconscious and yet which, when revisited, is still real enough to erase the intervening years. One day, in an impossible future, he will deal with all these unanswered letters, these troubled and troubling memories, but in the meantime he accepts that the language out of which we build our lives isolates rather than connects, a mass of ‘endless text’ out of which we can construct questions but which words alone cannot answer.”

‘n Skakel via die bespreking neem jou egter na ‘n hewige debat na iets wat waarskynlyklik van veel groter waarde is as die fokus op Tranströmer se gedig: die hele komplekse (en teenstrydige) aard van vertalings.

In ‘n nogals aggressief bewoorde brief aan die TLS het Fulton te velde getrek teen Robin Robertson, vertaler van Tranströmer se gedigte wat in 2007 in die VSA verskyn het met The Deleted World as titel:

Sir, – Alan Brownjohn’s diplomatic review (January 26) of Robin Robertson’s versions of Tomas Transtromer’s The Deleted World (Enitharmon, Brownjohn’s own publisher) tiptoes round some of the problems of Robertson’s enterprise. An excessively large number of Robertson’s lines are identical to mine in my Transtromer translations (as published by Bloodaxe, and New Directions): elsewhere, wittingly or unwittingly, Robertson makes arbitrary changes to the Swedish, a language he does not seem to understand. His versions are neither dependable translations nor independent imitations: they show a cavalier disregard for Transtromer’s texts and I have yet to see a reviewer able or willing to say so.
ROBIN FULTON.
Mjughaug terasse 8, N4048 Hafrsfjord, Norway.

Hierop het WS Milne soos volg reageer:

Sir, – Robin Robertson is hardly the first poet to make “arbitrary changes” in his versions from a foreign language (Letters, February 7). The most famous (or perhaps notorious?) case is that of Robert Lowell in his Imitations of 1961. In his introduction to that volume, Lowell quotes Boris Pasternak as saying “that the usual reliable translation gets the literal meaning but misses the tone”. Lowell goes on to argue the case for licence in poetry translation, or in the making of versions “to write alive English”. This is surely what Robertson has done in his Transtromer versions. Lowell knew no Russian but still translated Pasternak; Geoffrey Hill has no Norwegian but still managed to give us a first-class poetic version of Ibsen’s Brand. Lowell’s “cavalier disregard” for his archetypes extended as far, he freely admitted, to cutting the original poems in half, adding stanzas to them, dropping lines, moving lines, moving stanzas, changing images and altering metre and intent. In relying too on lines from Robin Fulton’s translations of Transtromer, Robertson can perhaps take heart again from Lowell’s example of lifting whole passages from other writers, such as Thoreau and Melville, in his “original” poem, “The Quaker Graveyard in Nantucket”. The crux surely is in getting the tone of Transtromer right, and in making his work come alive on the page for a British audience as poetry, which tasks both Robertson and Fulton, in their different ways, have fully done.
W. S. MILNE.
18 Crediton Way, Claygate, Esher, Surrey.

Nou ja, toe. Inderdaad ‘n belangrike gesprek wat rondom dié onderwerp gevoer was. Gaan lees gerus die volledige weergawe van dié debat op TLS se webblad.

Tomas Tranströmer se gedig, Answers to Letters’, volg hieronder.

***

Answers to Letters

In the bottom drawer of my desk I come across a letter that
first arrived twenty-six years ago. A letter in panic, and it’s
still breathing when it arrives the second time.
A house has five windows: through four of them the day
shines clear and still. The fifth faces a black sky, thunder
and storm. I stand at the fifth window. The letter.
Sometimes an abyss opens between Tuesday and
Wednesday but twenty-six years may be passed in a
moment. Time is not a straight line, it’s more of a
labyrinth, and if you press close to the wall at the right
place you can hear the hurrying steps and voices, you
can hear yourself walking past there on the other side.
Was the letter ever answered? I don’t remember, it was
long ago. The countless thresholds of the sea went on
migrating. The heart went on leaping from second to
second like the toad in the wet grass of an August night.
The unanswered letters pile high up, like cirro-stratus
clouds presaging bad weather. They make the sunbeams
lustreless. One day I will answer. One day when I am dead
and can at last concentrate. Or at least so far away from
here that I can find myself again. When I’m walking,
newly arrived, in the big city, on 125th Street, in the wind
on the street of dancing garbage. I who love to stray off
and vanish in the crowd, a capital T in the mass of the
endless text.

TOMAS TRANSTRÖMER (1981)
Vertaal deur Robin Fulton.

 

 

Louis Esterhuizen. Tomas Tranströmer wen die Nobelprys vir Letterkunde

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Uiteindelik het die Sweedse Akademie hul  legendariese skroomvalligheid oorkom en vir die eerste keer sedert Wislawa Szymborska se bekroning in 1996, nie net ‘n digter met die Nobelprys vir Letterkunde bekroon nie, maar boonop iemand uit eie geledere, naamlik die Sweedse digter Tomas Tranströmer:  “because, through his condensed, transluscent images, he gives us fresh access to reality”. (Aldus die persverklaring na afloop van die aankodiging vroeër vandag.)

Verlede jaar was die 80-jarige Tranströmer ‘n volslae gunsteling vir dié prys; iets waaroor ek hoeka in ‘n Nuuswekker op 1 Oktober berig het. Volgens die professionele wed-agentskap Ladbrokes was hy ‘n vanselfsprekende gunsteling onder die wedders: “”Tomas Tranströmer must surely be in pole position. He’s long been mentioned for the prize and we feel his work finally deserves this recognition. However, even though we employ a crack team of Nobel specialists, there are always guys out there who know more than us and we’ve always found it tough to make money on it. Professors show no hesitation in showing us up if they think we’ve priced it wrong.”

Maar nou ja, soos ons weet het die prys toe na Mario Vargas Llosa gegaan.

Vanjaar was Tranströmer wéér onder die gunstelinge (saam met die Siriese digter Adonis) en is hy welverdiend pas aangewys as die Nobel laureate vir 2011. Wat ‘n prestasie! Wat ‘n digter!

Vir jou leesplesier plaas ek een van sy gedigte hieronder. Besoek gerus sy persoonlike webtuiste vir nog verse. Ook kan jy by The Guardian die resensie oor Tranströmer se versamelde gedigte te lese kry.

***

The Couple

 

They switch off the light and its white shade

glimmers for a moment before dissolving

like a tablet in a glass of darkness. Then up.

The hotel walls rise into the black sky.

The movements of love have settled, and they sleep

but their most secret thoughts meet as when

two colours meet and flow into each other

on the wet paper of a schoolboy’s painting.

It is dark and silent. But the town has pulled closer

tonight. With quenched windows. The houses have approached.

They stand close up in a throng, waiting,

a crowd whose faces have no expressions.

 

© Tomas Tranströmer (Vertaling deur Robert Bly)

 

Nobelprys vir Bob Dylan?!

Thursday, October 1st, 2009
Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

Op sy onlangse blog het Desmond Painter my ietwat voorgespring met ‘n bespiegeling rondom kandidate vir vanjaar se Nobelprys vr Letterkunde wat oor ongeveer twee weke van nou af aangekondig word. Oudergewoonte is die internet boepensdik van al die heerlike bespiegelinge oor wie se naam vanjaar uit die hoed getrek gaan word. Onwillekeurig dink ‘n mens aan digters soos Ernesto Cardenal (Nicaragua), Roberto Juarroz (Argentinië), Adonis (Sirië) en Hans Magnus Enzensberger (Duitsland). Om nie eens te praat van ons eie twee kandidate wat vanjaar (so glo ek graag) ‘n besonder sterk kans het nie … En wat van prosateurs soos Amos Oz, Carlos Fuentes, Philip Roth, Haruki Murakami en ‘n magdom ander? Selfs Bei Dao (China/VSA) is elke jaar ‘n sterk gunsteling, maar net soos dit die geval is met Salman Rushdie sal só ‘n toekenning waarskynlik met té veel politieke bagasie gepaardgaan. (En wat van Tomas Tranströmer?!)

Nietemin, groot was my verbasing toe ek op De Contrabas lees dat niemand minder as Bob Dylan op dié stadium as gunstige kandidaat bejeën word nie. Volgens die Deense literator, Anne-Marie Mai, gaan die toekenning na alle waarskynlikheid vanjaar na ‘n Amerikaanse skrywer gaan; veral na aanleiding van die Akademie se voormalige hoofsekretaris, Horace Engdahl, se gewraakte uitspraak jeens die Amerikaanse letterkunde verlede jaar. Volgens The Guardian se berig van 1 Oktober 2008 het hy gesê dat die Amerikaanse skrywers  te selfgesentreerd is.  “The US is too isolated, too insular. They don’t translate enough and don’t really participate in the big dialogue of literature,” het hy glo gesê. Later het sekretaris Engdahl dié bewerings probeer ontken en beweer dat dit ‘n misverstand is. Maar nou ja, die skade was gedoen.

Verdermeer word die argument dat Bob Dylan voordeel mag trek uit ‘n regstellende stem ten gunste van ‘n Amerikaanse bekroning, word ook op Knack se webblad gevoer. Ook hulle haal Anne-Marie Mai aan wat beweer dat Dylan se nominasie al vir etlike jare voor die komitee dien, maar telkens oor die hoof gesien word; skaamteloos lewer sy egter nou ‘n betoog ten gunste van bekroning vir hom, aangesien hy “de experimentele romantische en modernistische tradities van de wereldliteratuur verder gevoerd en met populaire uitdrukkingsvormen versmolten (heeft).” Na haar mening kan Dylan op dieselfde vlak geplaas word as skrywers soos Alexander Poesjkin, Charles Baudelaire, Walt Whitman, Johann Wolfgang Goethe en John Keats.

Nou ja, toe. Indien ‘n liriekskrywer bekroon moet word, is ek dit heeltemal eens dat onse Bobbie ‘n besonder sterk kandidaat is … En selfs wanneer sy lirieke met die Amerikaanse digkuns vergelyk word, staan hy waarskynlik ‘n neuspunt voor die meeste ander … Maar ‘n bekroning vir hom ten koste van soveel ander onvergeetlike skrywers?! Sjoe, darem seker nie, of hoe?

Hoe dit ook al sy, solank ons net kan aanhou met asemhaal, sal ons mettertyd wel weet.

As toegif vanoggend plaas ek die laaste strofe uit “A Hard Rain’s A-gonna Fall” wat waarskynlik as Bob Dylan se mees beroemde liriek beskou kan word. Die res van die liriek – asook al die ander – is hier te lees.

***

Maak ook net seker dat jy Yves T’Sjoen se nuwe blog te lese kry; dis absoluut fassinerend. Cas Vos ‘n huldeblyk vir IL de Villiers gestuur en Hennie Aucamp gesels alte heerlik met Bernard Odendaal in die Brieweboks oor die Liedteks as deel van die poësieskat in Afrikaans. Intussen het Jakkie van der Colff sy (of haar) beswaar teen Bernard Odendaal se resensie van Jelleke Wierenga se bundel, Bloot mens, na LitNet geneem en hom (of haar) tromop geloop teen twéé geïnspireerde reaksies, naamlik die van Koos Sas en Marna Duvenhage. Gaan lees gerus. Ai, ai, dis altyd só jammer wanneer mense hoor maar nie luister nie.

Nietemin, ‘n lekker (musikale) dag word jou toegewens.

Mooi bly.

LE

Oh, what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what’ll you do now, my darling young one?
I’m a-goin’ back out ‘fore the rain starts a-fallin’,
I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest,
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty,
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters,
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison,
Where the executioner’s face is always well hidden,
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten,
Where black is the color, where none is the number,
And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it,
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it,
Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’,
But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’,
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard,
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

 

© Bob Dylan (uit: A Hard Rain’s A-gonna Fall)