Incisive essays on modern poetry and translation by a noted poet, translator, and critic.
As an immigrant to the United States from Germany, Rosmarie Waldrop has wrestled with the problems of language posed by the discrepancies between her native and adopted tongues, and the problems of translating from one to the other. Those discrepancies and disjunctions, instead of posing problems to be overcome, have become for Waldrop a generative force and the very foundation of her interests as a critic and poet.
In this comprehensive collection of her essays, Waldrop addresses considerations central to her life’s work: typical genres and ways of countering the conventions of genre; how concrete poets have made syntax spatial rather than grammatical; and the move away from metaphor in poetry toward contiguity and metonymy. Three essays on translation struggle with the sources and targets of translation, of the degree of strangeness or foreignness a translator should allow into any English translation. Finally, other essays examine the two-way traffic between reading and writing, and Waldrop’s notion of reading as experience.