liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
It's National Poetry Day, apparently. And this one is actually based in my own nation, rather than just one of those vague nation-of-internet special days.

As it happens, yesterday the internet was full of people being cross about a project to produce contemporary English translations of Shakespeare. Now my opinion is that contemporary English translations are just one part of the myriad ways that modern audiences respond to literary classics. Certainly it's possible for them to be awful, but the idea of reworking Shakespeare's words isn't inherently awful.

[ profile] papersky wrote a sonnet expressing the general sentiment that changing Shakespeare is horrible. I commented that I really shouldn't try to write a response sonnet to express my alternative view, and certain people talked me into it instead of out of it. I'm rather charmed with the idea of an internet argument about Shakespeare in sonnet form, I must say.

So anyway, have a rather bad, dashed off hypertext sonnet about why I'm in favour of translating and reinterpreting Shakespeare:
True poetry is what survives translation,
An exiled Magyar poet told me once.
We're all time's exiles. Each one longs
To touch the past through each imagination,

But time excludes us from each treasured word –
No verse, no rhyme, no play remains pristine,
We'll never watch unchanged a perfect scene,
Nor ever hear what past play-goers heard.

Limelight's electric now and women act,
Some plays are filmed instead of staged,
The words, the sounds, the very rhymes have changed.
No fossil, this, to be preserved intact,

But living art in loving minds reborn,
Poetic truth translation can transform.
I do rather like writing poetry that responds to existing works. Pastiches and filks and metrical translations of poetry in other languages, too, but especially when someone writes a poem and I reply to it in similar style and metre.
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
So I have loved this bit of Heine, which is quoted in our prayer book, for many many years. And I've looked a couple of times for the original and never found it, mainly because I don't have good enough German to come up with plausible search terms (and anyway didn't know how close the translation we have was).

So anyway, the other day I asked [personal profile] kaberett, who speaks German well and knows poetry, and they found me the original! I'm reposting it here mainly because the site with the text is broken in weird ways and nearly impossible to link to directly. So now if I want to refer to it, I can find it:
Wenn der Frühling kommt mit dem Sonnenschein,
Dann knospen und blühen die Blümlein auf;
Wenn der Mond beginnt seinen Strahlenlauf,
Dann schwimmen die Sternlein hintendrein;
Wenn der Sänger zwei süße Äuglein sieht,
Dann quellen ihm Lieder aus tiefem Gemüt; -
Doch Lieder und Sterne und Blümelein,
Und Äuglein und Mondglanz und Sonnenschein,
Wie sehr das Zeug auch gefällt,
So macht's doch noch lang keine Welt.


Apr. 8th, 2014 11:20 am
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
So April is sometimes National Poetry Month in the Nation of Internet. And there's an uptick in poetry on my d-roll and in my internet life generally, and this is pleasing. One that caught my eye recently was from [personal profile] zarhooie: The sciences sing a lullabye. Really made me smile, especially
Of course
You're tired. Every atom in you
has been dancing the shimmy in silver shoes
nonstop from mitosis to now.

I also learned from Facebook that someone I knew slightly at school was a poet, and also that she died a couple of years ago. I had, honestly, almost forgotten who Megan was until I saw FB posts about an event being held in her memory. We were sometimes friends, in some way; she was part of the train crowd who commuted quite long distances to school by train. She was somewhat prickly and drama-prone, and I was impatient and unsympathetic, so the bond-between-social-outcasts interactions we had never quite blossomed into ongoing friendship. I'm glad to know she did well for herself in the few decades she had, and sorry that it was so few.

And my brother-the-poet managed to get a very short slot on Radio 4 talking about poetry and masculinity. If you're in the right time and place to have access to iPlayer, it's from about 1hr 54 minutes in Saturday's Today. commentary ) So I commend anyone who's interested in poetry and gender to his erudite yet accessible piece: Poems that make men cry.


Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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