Showing posts from June, 2011


So yesterday evening I was sitting at my table, with a glass of wine and a pad when I started skimming through my Francesca Woodman books. I was captured by her Self-Deception series and the pen started flowing to the rhythm of her black and white pictures and her twisted body. There is a strength in her work that makes it appear almost as solid as a sculpture and yet wraithlike. There is a naked truth hidden in her works that needs to be deciphered. These shots were taken in a cellar, which make them even more intriguing to me. I keep wondering whether Bluebeard was her favorite fairy tale as a kid.

Poetry As Consolation

    There is always a good reason to read poetry. Whether feeling happy or sad, I know I will find some solace or comfort turning the pages of a poetry book. I was watching the sunset and recalling the sunrise that saw my son and me awake earlier today. He is traveling alone and a lot of thoughts inhabit my head. It’s a strange feeling, maybe a mixed feeling of restlessness and hopefulness. I wrote some bad lines and then I picked up a book by Wisława Szymborskaand at last found some truly consolatory lines that made me smile. Who does not love happy endings?

Darwin. They say he read novels to relax, But only certain kinds: nothing that ended unhappily. If anything like that turned up, enraged, he flung the book into the fire.   
True or not, I’m ready to believe it.
Scanning in his mind so many times and places, he’d had enough of dying species, the triumphs of the strong over the weak, the endless struggles to survive, all doomed sooner or later. He’d earned the right to happy endings, …

Unpacking Books and Hidden Poetry

What a joy, after a move, to be able to allow one's books to breathe again. Seeing them on the shelves makes me so happy. Sometimes, unexpectantly, I find some hidden treasures. A note that a friend wrote, a postcard, a bookmark, scraps of paper. I was so happy to find in a poetry book some poems I had almost forgotten. They date back to the period in which I was attending University and I was studying American Poetry for my second year exam of American Literature. They are three poems by Robert Creeley that my Professor had translated. Great ones. I'll share one of them with you:


Had they told you, you
were "four or more cells
joined end to end," the Latin
catena, "a chain," the loop,
the running leap to actual
heaven spills at my stunned
feet, pours out the imprison-
ing threads of genesis,
oh light beaded necklace,
chain round my neck, my
inexorably bound birth, the sweet
closed curve of fading life?

Translating Poetry, Creating Fireflies.

I have been busy translating poetry lately and this made me even more aware that the task of a translator is perilous and extremely complicated. What Umberto Eco says about translation is so true. That is, striving to say almost the same thing. Succeeding is an accomplishment that requires sweat and blood. And yet, despite Frost's famous quote that "poetry is what gets lost in translation" I know that not everything is lost. Some of it remains and the sparks of the poets can be captured in the end. Translating poetry is like giving life to a firefly. A dazzle of light remains in between all the darkness.