David Shook over at the amazing Molossus interviewed me about Anomalous. It’s here.
I’m especially impressed by the range of translations on Anomalous, from Steve Bradbury’s translations of the Taiwanese poet Hsia Yü to Mani Rao’s Śankara. What brings them together? What do you look for when assessing translations?
What actually brings them together is me, and another editor Sara Gilmore, who is also a translator. Translators, we’ve found, have to be sought out and luckily we have read and met many wonderful ones. So almost all of our translation comes in by request—though I’d love to change that, of course! But it’s interesting that you point to Mani and Steve, because I think those two translations from this issue compliment each other amazingly. Mani is this great modern poet who approaches translation as a poet, as in, experimentally – she’s interested in breathing life into these ancient texts, resurrecting them in a way for a contemporary audience. Steve is translating a modern, and experimental poet, Hsia Yü, whose original work is radical in a way similar to Mani’s translation work. But Steve’s approach is very traditional, where he’s concerned with that demon of translation, fidelity, to the original. His work is incredibly poetic and creative, but in a more traditional way. The results though, are two very experimental pieces approaching the translation of poetry from almost wholly opposite places. I love that!