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Showing posts from November, 2017
beach sunset a woman kisses the light on her baby's face
























Blithe Spirit 27.4 November 2017

haiku commentary - Kaneko Tohta

猪がきて空気を食べる春の峠
    a wild boar      comes and eats air      spring mountain path
          — Kaneko Tohta,Selected Haiku With Notes and Commentary Part 2:1961-2012, translated by the Kon Nichi Translation Group (Red Moon Press, 2012)
The translation of poetry has to be one of the most challenging arts. How can someone translate words, syntax, sound, rhythm and connotation from one language to another and be sure of achieving something comparable to the original author’s intention? How does the translator balance commitment to the original text with the necessity of creating poetic effect in the translated one?
I am not a translator. And while my reasonable grasp of French and Spanish might help me produce a passable English translation of a short poem in either of those languages, all other languages are beyond my reach. So it’s the translation of Kaneko Tohta’s haiku that I must respond to.

I appreciate the overall scene the haiku conjures but I’m less satisfied with a close reading: …