sheenaghpugh: (Default)
Christopher Meredith is a novelist and poet from Wales. Though he works mainly in English, one of his books for children is in Welsh and he also translates from Welsh into English. He is a professor of creative writing at the University of Glamorgan. His most recent collection of poems is The Meaning of Flight (Seren) and he has just completed a new novel, The Book of Idiots, which will be published in 2012. He is also involved with five artists in the project "Bog-Mawnog", responding to fire damage on a mountaintop in the Black Mountains in Powys. A booklet of Meredith's poems, Black Mountains, with images from the artists is being produced by Mulfran and there will also be an exhibition about the project in Brecknock Museum, 16th July to late September.

Toy Revolver

He loves its pointed symmetry
the lazy, opened hook of trigger
stock shaped to the palm
like a lover's hip,
opens it like unstoppering a flask
of magic that might spill.

He holds the chamber,
sectioned like fruit, close
to see each scoop and groove
each empty socket in the disc,
counts with a fingertip
six spaces for the dark seeds.

Interview and more poems behind cut )

Links to other poems and information

Breaking Wood - Christopher Meredith reading his own poem on YouTube.
What flight meant - a poem of Chris's featured on Jo Preston's writing blog.
Christopher Meredith's website
Seren, Christopher Meredith's publisher
Christopher Meredith's page on the Contemporary Writers website
A Woollen Line - the blog of Pip Woolf, who is involved with Meredith in the Bog-Mawnog project.
sheenaghpugh: (Slartibartfast)
Just put a new article on translation up on my website. Translating the Not Quite is about my efforts to translate a German poem that wasn't quite in German, since it was by the Swiss German poet Johann Peter Hebel (1760-1826), who wrote in the Alemannic dialect. I've included the original and translation in an appendix; for a poem written about 200 years ago it contains some strangely contemporary end-of-the-world forebodings. The article was originally written for a university but ironically enough they said it wouldn't do because it wasn't in the dialect they favoured, namely academic-speak.
sheenaghpugh: (Anthony Gormley's Another Place)
I don't speak Catalan, which I regret, because during the short time I spent in Barcelona I noticed that it seemed to resemble Welsh in some ways, like the days of the week. But I've always been irrationally chuffed to know that there's a Catalan translation of a poem of mine online.

It's at the web site of the translator Sadurní Vergés and is a translation of a poem called "The Extra" - the original is underneath the translation.

It's always fascinating to see a poem in translation, even if you can only guess at the words from their resemblance to others; you still see different rhythms, emphases, rather like giving yourself a new hair colour.
sheenaghpugh: (Heslop from Porridge)
Been re-reading a little book called Five Essays on Translation (ed Katja Krebs & Christopher Meredith, pub. University of Glamorgan, ISBN 18405411202) which arose from a conference on the politics of literary translation at my uni in 2003. There's an essay in it called "Sleeping with the Enemy" by the writer and translator Grahame Davies, in which he talks both about the ethics of translating from a minority language into a majority one and about the effect bilingualism, and the act of translating, have had on his own writing.
more behind cut )
I've never been as bilingual as Davies; I have translated mostly out of other languages into English. The influence of translation on me has always been to make me look more closely at my own language and what can be done with it by those who look at it fresh. I have done a little translation from English into German, and once while living there for a while I did actually get the length of writing a published poem in German. It was also a pastiche of the style of a particular German poet, Stefan George, and I've never been sure that this wasn't really the deciding factor that caused it to come to me in German. Never happened again though....

I translated it into English later, but it wasn't really the same poem. What's interesting is that I can still recall the German version but not the English one. Here's the original for anyone who's interested (complete with slightly archaic syntax and uncapitalised nouns because that's George's style). I'll try to hunt up the English version later and put it in, just to see what happened to it on the way.

Rapunzels Hexe )
sheenaghpugh: (book)
... in Germany, at least, and via being quoted by someone who already is? Some time ago I got a request from a German publisher on behalf of a children's author who wanted to quote a translated version of a poem of mine called "What If This Road". I said sure, why not (quite forgetting to ask for any money; I do wish mamma hadn't brought me up believing it was rude to mention money) and thought no more of it. I didn't take much note of the author's name either.

Soooo... the complimentary copy just arrived and when I saw what a beautiful hardback artefact it was, I checked up on the author at last. Obviously I should have heard of Cornelia Funke; she's been translated into English and all sorts of other languages and her Wikipedia entry says she's compared to JKR - most unfairly as far as I can see, as the little I have read so far makes Funke look a far better writer. (Her website is even more fun, too.) What I have is the German version of Tintentod (Inkdeath); apparently it comes out in English next year, and at least one US bookshop has ordered the German version because his customers couldn't wait for the English one.

Well, well... all recognition is welcome, including that classed as OBE (Other Buggers' Efforts). I wish the translation of the poem had preserved an ambiguity in the last two lines, but it isn't bad otherwise (nor am I saying I see how it could have done).

Poem behind the cut if anyone's interested What If This Road )

and here's the German version )


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