Saturday, March 31, 2007

Translator's art and artifice

Been thinking about artistic development, process toward. This has more to do with my reflections on my own experiences than as any sort of prescriptive commentary (obviously). Struck me that in the early stages of writing, learning your own techniques for writing, that the writing of poetry is, at first, a method of translating the world into the mechanics of poetry.

That what you/I, were/was doing first was a form of translation. With all of its attendant awkwardness. That metaphor ends up being the first heavily used skill/device because metaphor itself (in my book) is parallel to translation, a form of translation. These unlike things have points of comparison--I am translating love into a rose, a rose into love, etc. Metaphor is, yes, an intra-linguistic translation tool.

But then, you/I develop fluency in the channels and linguistic tics of whatever poetry is at the level of the individual. And what develops bypasses the rudiments of any particular device. One begins to think in "poetry" the way one thinks in French, rather than English when speaking French as a non-native speaker. You stop translating the words in your head.

This all prompted from listening to my brother- and sister-in-law discuss their fun as they begin to learn French.

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