Powell’s question # 3

30 January 2009 at 9:38 PM | Posted in News | Leave a comment

Here is my unsolicited answer to the third question raised by Adam Donaldson Powell:

“It must be quite a sensational achievement to publish poetry in a language other than one’s mother tongue, or to have the freedom and dexterity to choose which language a poem or part of a poem or an entire collection of poetry will be in — without having to employ a translator. Can you comment on this ‘virtue’, and the exhilaration experienced when one succeeds?”

Definitely sensational. Every language has its unique advantages (as well as disadvantages, of course). To be able to use another language is to expand the poetic reservoir into which one can dip to get exactly the nuance that one wants. Sensational, although I am not sure about exhilaration. One can never tell if one is fully exploiting the second or third language because, by definition, that language is not what one thinks in or grew up in. We have enough testimonies from readers reading works written in their languages by people that just learned it in school or as adults; these “native speakers” invariably find the second-language writers a bit odd, to say the least.

Leave a Comment »

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: