Back at Squaw Valley

Gander by BerkleyI’ve posted about this intense week of poetry before, so I won’t explain it here. Each time I’ve come, it’s been a giant booster shot for my writing. Yesterday, I listened to an amazing craft talk by Forrest Gander. It was about translation, the origin of words, the decisions we make in translating poetry. For example, in England, the upper classes spoke French, the peasants Anglo-Saxon. So this class distinction persists in the words we we use–the Anglo-Saxon names of animals: deer, cow, swine; the French origin words for the meat: venison, beef, pork.

There was much more of course. By the end of the talk, I realized how little I know, how presumptuous I’ve been in translating. Perhaps I’ll transcribe my notes. But for today, I thought I’d give you one of Forrest’s translations.

And the Intrepid Anthurium

Two bumblebees
extract nectar,
sweet and bitter
from the center
of the rose-colored petals
of a flower
which is not a rose.
they thud against the picture window
again and again,
fixed on escaping
with their bounty inside them,
into the air behind them,
incognizant that the path to freedom
has been eclipsed,
that they are drawn to an illusion.
With the blood honey
in their guts
already a part
of their rapturous marrow.
And distinct.

Pura López-Colomé
translated by Forrest Gander

2 thoughts on “Back at Squaw Valley

  1. I very much like this Forrest Gander. Could a name be more perfect?
    Those video poems on his website are hypnotic and filled with snakes. Just the way I like things to be.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *