Friday, January 04, 2008

Tourism #2

Another quick thought: the way "tourism" figures in my own work clearly brings the term into contact with another word - "translation." In some sense translated texts can be seen as a kind of tourism (replicating Stevens' knick-knack and postcards from abroad), but ultimately I think it's something potentially more interesting (something closer to wading into the water off of Florida's coast or actually exchanging ideas with Ramon).


Blogger François Luong said...

Well, my remarks re: tourism have more to do with one's practices, really. In terms of translation, I'd see Robert Bly as a tourist, that is to say someone who comes for a visit, see the things he reads from his perspective.

On the other hand, Pierre Joris would be more like "the bacteria carried by the immigrant [and] rejuvenating the traumadrome," someone for whom the act of translation is fundamental in the way it shapes the way he writes.


10:23 PM  
Blogger François Luong said...

I forgot to say, the tourist-translator goes into the foreign with one of those fancy travel guides from Lonely Planet/Fodor's/Frommers and a phrasebook.

10:27 PM  
Blogger Johannes said...

I think people are too tough on Bly. His journal the 50s and 60s were incredibly international and anti-the-New-Critics, full of all kinds of polemics and devoted in large part of foreign poetry.

Actually in the early 60s Bly was friends with Jerry Rothenberg, who at that time was translating all kinds of German Dada and Expressionist writings, and that's I think where Bly picked up the idea of the "deep image."

Rothenberg's first book - which I almost never see anybody refer to or own (except Jed Rasula) - was much more Surrealist in style than his later works. I actually think it's one of my favorite of his books.

6:56 AM  
Blogger François Luong said...

Aren't his poems in the Norton Anthologies from his first book? I remember liking some of his stuff when I was first introduced to his work, only to wonder why I did so when I read his latter poems.

Re: his translations, I remember a discussion he had with my friend Mehregan when Bly was in Houston with Coleman Barks to read at the Alley Theater and made the mistake of saying that Rumi was from Turkey. And he couldn't speak a word of Farsi.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Johannes said...

I actually haven't looked at the Norton for some time, so maybe.

As for Bly, he's become something of an embarassment, but at one point he was a very innovative figure and people conveniently forget that. He played a huge part in the critique of the New Critics in part by bringing in an amazing array of foreign poets into American poetry - Vallejo, Transtromer etc. But, yes, those days are long gone.

7:30 AM  

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