Poetry - Can Poetry be Translated? Yes, if it's Got a Narrative

by Ugur Akinci - Date: 2007-03-03 - Word Count: 287 Share This!

I debated myself for long years on the issue of translating poetry. I wasn't sure if one could do that without losing a lot in the process.

Despite many superior examples of poetry translated from one language into another, I still shied away from these translations like one would resist the charming offers from the guy selling Rolexes on the Fifth Avenue. The things look like original, but you still can't be sure enough.

Two years ago in October I was lucky enough to be accepted to a Master Poetry workshop conducted by Stanley Plumly, one of the leading American poets who heads the creative writing program at the University of Maryland.

For the first time in my life, I've realized in this workshop the importance of the narrative in lyrical poetry. Every good poem is indeed a bit like a short film. There is a story there. It's either that or the whole thing is nothing but a marvelous piece of linguistic fireworks.

Language is of course an important part of the reason why we fall in love with our favorite poems. But there is also the narrative behind that linguistic magic, weaving its way through every strand of the emotional fabric of the poem. That, I now believe, is what perhaps can be translated with reasonable success from one language to another.

With such a framework in mind, I began to translate the poems of some of my most beloved (and relatively unknown in the West) Turkish poets like Turgut Uyar, Melih Cevdet Anday, and others. I believe their words, the narrative and the emotions they've breathed life into, deserve a larger audience in the world today. I'll share some of these translations with you in my other Ezine articles.

Related Tags: poetry, translation, poems, narrative

Ugur Akinci, Ph.D. is a writer with 20 years of experience and available for freelance assignments. Visit his web site http://www.writer111.com for more information on his services.

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