5 Responses

  1. Was Alkhayyam really that drunk or in love with drinking all the time or does he use the state of drunkness in a metaphorical sense?


  2. Juan. I love you. I love your contributions. I love Informed Comment. I know that you’re a great guy and a good American. But you’re NOT a poet. Deal with it.

  3. Somewhere, somehow, someone needs to give a brief and coherent explanation of the problems and challenges involved with translating—much less when you get into poetry!

    “Getting Drunk” is practically slang, versus getting tipsy, intoxicated, high or what have you. Understanding the intent and nuance of the original, and then to then hit on just the one perfect word/phrase/idiom becomes horribly tedious.

    I’m not bad in Spanish, and in the first few words of a TV interpretation before the translator ran over the original, the subject said, “Para mantaner me casa…”. Doesn’t take much Spanish to understand, in context of the report “To keep my house (ie, keep up)”. Interpretor then say’s, “To put beans on the table.” I about gagged, but then, idiomatically she may have been a bit closer than what I immediately heard.

    But Poetry???? Good luck.

  4. robert@1:38

    could you please define [for me]
    what a poet is ?

    people keep calling me one
    and i don’t know how to react

    please put it in
    eight lines or less

    your opinion is yours [but]
    that don’t make it a fact

  5. I’m loving this series of translations with every fiber of my being. “Getting drunk” is *exactly* the right phrase here, for the register chosen.

    Poetry is about people, and the way that an individual experience or perception generalizes to encompass us all. These translations capture this comprehensive humanity to the hilt.

    It’s important to keep in mind that the poet’s sense is no less poetic for having lived a millennium ago. People then downed shots, and poets talked about it just as much. We do poetry a disservice by oversolemnizing it – and I say that as a poet, a translator, and a translator of poetry.

    Thanks so much, Juan.

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