Tuesday, 19 November 2013
Arabic Literature (in English): Translating Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi
Last week I went to one of the Poetry Translation Centre's collaborative translation workshops, where we translated one of Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi's mesmerizing, labyrinthine poems - with the poet himself present.
I wrote about the experience for M Lynx Qualey's blog Arabic Literature (in English), which is known to be an absolutely essential resource for people interested in just that. If you click on the "poetry" tag, it will bring up a wealth of interesting stories about the translation of Arabic-language poetry.
You can read my writeup about the workshop here: http://arablit.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/in-the-room-at-the-poetry-translation-centre-reading-al-saddiq-al-raddi-2/
Here's a excerpt:
"The translator who had produced the literal English version, Samuel Wilder, had selected a sequence of poems from which Saddiq had deduced that he was a) a bit of a romantic and b) possibly interested in Sufism, which is a huge influence on Sudanese poetry and was especially evident in these poems. The other poems were shorter, had charming details about butterflies, and while also complex were probably a little more straightforward. So, naturally, the group chose to go for the long, extremely difficult poem…"