Friday, July 27, 2007

Mr. Cogito

Years after Carpenters' translation Zbigniew Herbert's poems make their way back to the American bookshops thanks to Valles translation: see a NYT review.
If translating poetry in general is challenging, then in particular translating Herbert must be a nightmare. So even though according to the NYT review the new translation is far from being perfect, I would still think that it should be a-must-read for any poetry lover.

Nothing Special by Zbigniew Herbert

nothing special
boards paint
nails paste
paper string

mr artist
builds a world
not from atoms
but from remnants

forest of arden
from umbrella
ionian sea
from parkers quink

just as long as
his look is wise
just as long as
his hand is sure -

and presto the world -

hooks of flowers
on needles of grass
clouds of wire
drawn out by the wind