Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Discovered in Translation

A gift reaches me by mail. A book of poetry. Landscape with Rowers, poetry from the Netherlands. Translated and introduced by J.M. Coetzee. Low lands is what I think.

Earlier I wrote to the generous person who presented me with this gift, that I don't believe in translation.
And yet, in this case Coetzee's poetic license makes my countryman, Gerrit Achterberg's poetry more accessible than it ever was when I attempted to read his sonnets in Dutch.

Achterberg suffered from mental illness and oft his work was critiqued with that knowledge in mind.
And that while most of the poets of the Fifties were creating incredibly free, odd verse, about things only they could see…
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