Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Ashbery translation: not quite a son

father's day

La chasse des carillons crie dans les gorges.

The carillons' hunting party halloos in the gorges.

So now it's done. I have met Rimbaud in the new translation by John Ashbery. I always sensed I would be captivated by his prose, and there it is. But now a portrait captures translation's dilemma. In Rimbaud the hunt can still be the music; in Ashbery it is embodied. 

Yet the chase is of the music. And such music. In one line, soft consonants framing alliterative hard ones, is the Rimbaud we knew was coming.


Arthur Rimbaud
  Cities [ii]
John Ashbery, translation
  and preface
Norton, 2011©

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