Diary of a translator: a personal account of translating a poem 'Arpa', by Amelia Biagioni (1916–2000)

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Abstract:

This article reveals my own diary-keeping as I translated one poem by the Argentine poet Amelia Biagioni (1916–2000) between May 2007 and February 2008. I find myself drawn to 'Arpa', the third poem in Biagioni's last collection of 1995, RegiĆ³n de fugas. In this diary I have made something of the process of translation transparent. I make my intertextual associations conscious: among them John Donne, Leonard Cohen and, perhaps less surprisingly, Borges, who all find their way into my translation. I also narrate the interactions with the native readers I consulted as I worked, which helped to shape my reading of the poem. In this way I take the definition of a diary as a description of a subjective encounter. Through this process I come to realize I have been holding this poem safely at 'arm's length'. The brief comments of two native readers I consulted force me to engage with the bleak, dark nature of the poem I had not wanted to face before, and ultimately lead me closer to the heart of the poem, and towards a stronger translation.

Keywords: AMELIA BIAGIONI; ANTI-CONFESSIONALISM; REGION DE FUGAS; SUBJECTIVITY; TEXTUAL UNCONSCIOUS; TRANSLATION

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/jrs.2009.090109

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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