Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot, reputed to be anti-Semites come to mind when Alice mentioned a Korean poet whose work is being deleted from textbooks in Korea because of a sexual harassment scandal. Alice described the poet’s words as exquisite. She was obviously torn between admiration for the man’s work and distress about his reputation. She read one of his work in Korean and promises to bring a translation to the next session.
Alice also enlightened us on the classical form of Korean poetry; influenced by Chinese poetry but has forged its own identity.
Helen brought in three different English translations of a French poem and we discussed their merits. None is perfect as translations never are so Helen was encouraged to attempt her own. We await results.
Terry, our sole English native speaker brought in a poem entitled Green and Gold Malaria by Rupert McCall, an Australian passionate about sport and using Aussie slang to wax lyrical about it. Julianna, descendant of Hungarian poets, was charmed by it and professes her pride in being able to understand it. It made her feel Australian. I must confess I cringed, so I must be Australian too.
And I get it when Meninga makes a Kiwi-crunching run,
And when Border grits his teeth to score a really gutsy ton…
It flattened me when Bertrand raised the boxing kangaroo,
And when Perkins smashed the record, well, the rashes were true blue.
I brought two translations of a Song Dynasty poems set to the melody of Dream Song. Neither obeyed the rules of the Chinese version: 33 syllables, seven phrases (6,6,5,6,2,2,6) with the fifth and sixth being repeats; five end rhymes…not to mention all the rules of classical Chinese poetry in general. So forgive me for the inadequacy of mine. The English translation from Chinese always appears more wordy because the original is more compressed, e.g. being devoid of pronouns and prepositions etc….
DREAM SONG II
Li Qing Zhao (1084-1151)
Often I recall one sunset at a riverside pavilion
So intoxicated by it that we lost our way home
Satiated we returned late in a boat and
Strayed into a tangle of lotus
Startling a siege of herons
translated by Mary Tang 鄧許文蘭
Our meeting concluded after a brief discussion about a project for an exhibition.
There will be no meeting on March 27; I will be Special Guest at Live Poet @ Don Bank. Hope to see you all at Don Bank Museum.
There will be a make-up on 3 April.
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