Translating “Raymond Carver”


March 26, 2015

So peculiar: Upon reading Rachel Cusk’s piece about parenting in the New York Times Magazine (no, the piece, not the parenting, was in the magazine) and encountering this:

Raymond Carver’s disturbing poem, “On an Old Photograph of My Son,” an outpouring of the author’s feelings of victimization at the hands of his adolescent son, his anger at the waste of his own youth and energy the nurture of this “petty tyrant” represents.

I went looking for the text of the poem online and somehow (right, somehow) came to World’s Poetry Archive, specifically to a page of translations of Carver’s poem “Stupid”.

Raymond Carver, "Stupid" translated by World-Poetry Archive

Raymond Carver, “Stupid” translated by World-Poetry Archive

I suspect there’s a machine behind the project, because not only the poems were translated–so was Carver himself, no doubt because his name is also a noun:  “Tranchiermesser” in German, “Tailleur (du)” in French.

“The darkness in the room teems with insight.”

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