Isaac Bashevis Singer on translations

Leonard Durso

But as far as translation is concerned, naturally every writer loses in translation, particularly poets and humorists. Also writers whose writing is tightly connected to folklore are heavy losers. In my own case, I think I am a heavy loser. But then lately I have assisted in the translating of my works, and knowing the problem,I take care that I don’t lose too much. The problem is that it’s very hard to find a perfect equivalent for an idiom in another language. But then it’s also a fact that we all learned our literature through translation. Most people have studied the Bible only in translation, have read Homer in translation, and all the classics. Translation, although it does do damage to an author, it cannot kill him; if he’s really good, he will come out even in translation. And I have seen it in my own case. Also, translation helps…

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looking at pictures

Leonard Durso

you’re there
in front of me
one dimensional, of course
but I remember more dimensions
the sound of your laugh
a kid’s laugh, really
but can we be held
for what we inherit
that smile
that always just happened
without planning
or thinking
a natural reaction
to life
around you
and your eyes
open, clear
looking at the world
from a distance
and yet full of mischief
whenever you laughed
the tilt of your head
the length of your neck
the way your left shoulder
dips to the side
there’s a sea behind you
on a coast
a faraway coast
a lifetime ago
your lifetime
and mine
in a world long gone
that I won’t be returning to
any time soon

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