Temporarily Out of Stock Online

Eligible for FREE SHIPPING


The Poem Behind the Poem: Translating Asian Poetry by Frank Stewart

"The translator must keep faith with the deeper need that poetry fulfills in our lives, [to] discover not what the poem says but what it does." —Tony Barnstone, in his essay "Poem Behind the Poem"

The translation of Asian poetry into Western languages has been one of the most important literary events over the past one hundred years. Readers have fallen in love with Asian poetry and writers have been greatly influenced by it.

What neither reader nor writer ever witness is the intense engagement behind the poem, how the translator must serve as both artist and alchemist, urging a poem to work and sing in a foreign language. Success is rare, and the practice of translation, as W.S. Merwin has written, is "plainly impossible and nevertheless indispensable."

This endlessly fascinating anthology—the first of its kind—gathers essays, poems-in-translation, and worksheets from twenty-one noted translators who discuss their aspirations, methods, and the forces of imagination necessary to bring a poem from one language into another. Languages discussed include Chinese (both ancient and modern), Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Khmer, and Sanskrit.

"A truly apt translation of a poem may require an effort of imagination almost as great as the making of the original. The translator who wishes to enter the creative territory must make an intellectual and imaginative jump into the mind and world of the poet, and no dictionary will make this easier."—Gary Snyder on translating the Chinese poet Han-shan

Contributors include: Gary Snyder, Willis Barnstone, Jane Hirshfield, J.P. Seaton, John Balaban, Michelle Yeh, Arthur Sze, W.S. Merwin, and Sam Hamill.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781556592003
Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
Publication date: 02/01/2004
Pages: 360
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

The Poem behind the Poem: Literary Translation as American Poetry1
Translating Vietnamese Poetry17
How I Strayed into Asian Poetry28
Hunting Nets and Butterflies: Ethnic Minority Songs from Southwest China39
A Poem Should Mean and Be: Remarks on the Translation of Japanese Poetry55
The Way of Translation62
Sustenance: A Life in Translation76
from The World Is Large and Full of Noises: Thoughts on Translation90
Entering the Pale of Literary Translation101
Midwifing the Underpoem113
Translating Korean Poets125
Tuning In to the Poetry of U Sam Oeur133
Preface to East Window: The Asian Translations152
Some Thoughts on the Meaning of Translation163
Forms Transformed: Japanese Verse in English Translation175
Manuscript Fragments and Eco-Guardians: The Estate of Sanskrit Poetry189
Once More, on the Empty Mountain207
And Then the Whole Was Flooded with Light: Hiroya Takagai Translated221
Reflections on My Translations of the T'ang Poet Han-shan233
Introduction to The Silk Dragon: Translations from the Chinese239
The Chinese Poem: The Visible and the Invisible in Chinese Poetry251
About the Contributing Translators265
About the Editor271

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews