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Translating poems for Gale Burns

08/12/2018

There are so many considerations to juggle when translating a poem from English to French and visa versa. The  various challenges you have to think about, debate and reconcile make for a tough but deeply rewarding and rich experience. Each individual line and each word in that line needs careful reflection, sensitive deliberation, experience, and a  honed editors eye. But each step always opens up some surprising and beautiful  connections as well as revealing  some stimulating new language paths. 

Translating a poem is a work of art a labour of compromise, feeling and passion;  the stylistic and linguistic possobilites are often complex and tricky, but always fascinating. When translating from English to French I love the final stages; working on the latest drafts,  making ultimate decisions in collaboration with French writers 'a deux'. This is the best bit, sharing ideas, extending our linguistic selves, learning, making choices together for the good of the new poem. When translating Gale's poem  Click to go to his site  I worked with Alexis Garandeau writer, éditor of the small press ,La pierre qui roule ,  friend and lovely person. 

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