ALEYDA QUEVEDO ROJAS ON THE TRANSLATION OF HER BOOK OF POEMS SOY MI CUERPO INTO FRENCH
I consider the translation of poetry a very, very complex art. Not only does it require the diligent practice of decoding explicit and obscure language, but also an understanding of the musicality and pulse and rhythm that the poet dictates in each verse.
As a poet, my first experience of an entire book translated into french, this potent language of Baudelaire, Louise Labé, Cendras, Bonnefoy, Anne Carson and Margarite Duras, was with the book “Soy mi cuerpo.” Before this I had only got translated short collections of poems, between 5 and 10, into English, Italian, Portuguese and Hebrew. It was with the book “Soy mi cuerpo” that I learned what the translator’s work and the work of the poet involves.
For the doubts of the translator, over different verses or the interpretation of certain images, many concerns and new interpretations followed, but in light of of these questions as a translator, I revised them again and even began to see them through the eyes of the translator: Benjamin Laguierce.
The complete translation of “Soy mi cuerpo”, took me more than 40 readings and recitals of poetry in Quebec, Trois-Riviéres and Montreal, during the fall of October 2015. It is true that the art of translation is the art of the poem’s version, i.e. that there are many versions of the poem that are translated into a particular language. It is also true that poetic translations are more comprehensive and interesting if the translator is also a poet. But here, the most important thing to mention is Benjamin’s translation of my poetry book: “Soy mi cuerpo”, which allowed me to get in touch with the spirit and mind of hundreds of Canada’s readers who attended the intense schedule of activities of the festival for more than 10 days. Through these readings, the Cuban poet come translator, who is now a Canadian and has lived in Quebec for the past 30 years, offered me a second version of the translation of my book, based on the excellent translation provided by Benjamin. So, now, there is a new”Soy mi cuerpo” translated into French from the clarity, the experience and vein of a French translator residing in Quito and a Quebec-Cuban poet-translator living in Canada.
From both the versions, now my book enjoys a special status: both the translators have had a new emotional archeology of my poetry book to take it to the French readers in a mystical, rich and undoubtedly, more precise and well-taken care of form.
Aleyda Quevedo Rojas