Tree(s) of Diana – Translating Pizarnik

PIzarnik’s 1962 publication, Árbol de Diana (Tree of Diana), printed in Paris & prefaced by none other than Octavio Paz, is probably her greatest poetic achievement. The cohesiveness & freshness of the form, coupled with the consistency of the thematic content–a continuous search for identity & purpose–mark the collection with the seal of a mature poetics (something much of Pizarnik’s earlier work lacks).

The abbreviated voice, with its neatly incised line-breaks which mimic short breaths, creates an array of interesting translation problems, which Patricia Rossi & I have encountered as we’ve translated it together. Below, I’ve reproduced a first draft of poem 3, along with our questions, notes, comments, doubts, etc. printed as inline text. The intertextuality of the poem-in-process below attests to what I’ve come to understand as an ‘oscillatory movement’ in translation–a swaying back & forth between decisions: a crisis of sorts.

This entry was posted in Alejandra Pizarnik, Trans. from Spanish, Translation Problems. Bookmark the permalink.

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