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, Región 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.
Journal of Romance Studies promotes innovative critical work in the areas of linguistics, literature, performing and visual arts, media, material culture, intellectual and cultural history, critical and cultural theory, psychoanalysis, gender studies, social sciences, and anthropology. The primary focus is on those parts of the world that speak, or have spoken, French, Italian, Spanish or Portuguese, but work on other cultures may be included. Issues cross national and disciplinary boundaries in order to stimulate new ways of thinking about cultural history and practice.