|Claudia Roquette-Pinto, at the P&PCW workshop|
The workshop today helped me solve one piece of the puzzle of "Space-Writing": what I'd translated as "sealer" in the penultimate line could also be "shutter," which is probably more apt and, interestingly, has more assonance with "rapture," which could also, I realized, be rendered as "capture," though the former word in English carries, though they're usually lost on most of us, the sense of being captured, kidnapped, taken; in fact, "rapture"'s metaphorical sense is now its dominant one. But the other deeper meanings nevertheless remain. Claudia resolved another riddle when, in describing her intent, she clarified for me that the English wordI'd chosen in another translation was perhaps too mild; in American English (as opposed to British English, say), "quarrel" connotes an argument that doesn't reach the level of a battle, or all out war, though that might be the result of an ongoing quarrel. So a strong word, like "struggle," or even "battle," with a similar metrical length (a trochee) and end-word consonance (that final "uhl") is probably a better option. I have now made changes in both cases.
Roquette-Pinto in both her public reading and the workshop talked about her poetics, how she fit or didn't within various Brazilian literary schools and approaches, and her formal evolution. One thing a reader of her books notices is how the poems formally change--from the more formally conservative poetry in her first book, to poems with considerable linguistic and aural leaps and gaps, poems informed by the tradition of Concretion, poems in which she overtly foregrounds the polysemous possibilities of words, to poems that become more discursive and, as is the case with several of the poems of hers I translated, more prosy in their rhythms and concerns. She also spoke about how her personal challenges--including the horror of her sister being kidnapped--surfaced in oblique ways in her poems. In one of my favorites of her poems, "Alma corsária" ("Pirate Soul"), she engages in an intertextual dialogue with a number of writers who have inspired and informed her work, including Manuel Bandeira, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, Isaac Babel, Walt Whitman, and Clarice Lispector, even directly quoting the last, while also referencing her sister's plight. Another challenge she discussed was having completed a novel she was compelled to write; she had felt herself at a distance from poetry, but saw that her later poems were, in their own way, a journey to and preparation for the prose work she needed to write. (I hope she does publish the novel some day soon.)
She now heads to several other campuses (Smith College, I believe, and Yale University), as well as other parts of the country (out west, New York), before heading back to Brazil, but I am incredibly delighted that she was able to spend several days on campus, and look forward to continuing a dialogue, in and through poetry, with her. Now, if only I can afford to get to Brazil!
|Goldie Goldbloom delivering her talk|