diumenge, 7 de febrer de 2010

Paraules del traductor i poeta, D. Sam Abrams (3)

Tercer fragment de l’entrevista amb D. Sam Abrams publicada al Barcelona INK.

Third extract from the fascinating interview with D Sam Abrams, professor at the Open University of Catalonia, literary critic, poet and translator. The full interview was published in issue no.2 of Barcelona INK.

You have translated many Catalan poets – do you have a favourite?

Abrams: I have favourites. Of current poets, Màrius Sampere and Bartomeu Fiol and Joan Margarit.
As for the classics, for me, one is Ausias March. I think he was the greatest Catalan poet of the period, the greatest Spanish poet of the period, the greatest European poet of the period – ergo, the greatest poet of the world at that time (16th/17th century) for both his command of the language and his command of the form. He was a man with a foot in both the middle ages and the beginning of the Renaissance and this gave him a dramatic tragic view of life. There’s a point when he names himself in a poem and that for a poet was unheard of in those days.

Question: But he’s relatively unheard of ...

Abrams: Because nobody has ever translated him.

Question: And he remains untranslated?

Abrams: He’s been translated but only in the small press. I proposed to the Catalan government that they set up a team of experts: two university professors and two poets and that the draft a literal crib of his work so that somebody, a big name in English poetry (the man I had in mind was Seamus Heaney before he won the Nobel prize), could translate the crib into actual English poetry and all of a sudden March would make a big splash.
I was listened to. But I think that they felt that it was out of their reach – but it has been done before. There was an unknown Polish Renaissance poet. They made a crib and Heaney translated it and now he’s famous all over the world (Jan Kochanowski) and I can guarantee that March is ten times better than him!

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