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Wake Forest
University Press

Wake Forest University Press

Dedicated to Irish Poetry

Wake: Up to Poetry

"The act of poetry is a rebel act."

Poem of the Week: “A l’écoute: Receiver / All Clear” by Ciaran Carson

In the final week of National Translation Month, we’re featuring a unique kind of translation act. In From Elsewhere, Ciaran Carson translates poems by the French poet Jean Follain. However, the volume is different in that Carson pairs these translations with original poems inspired by them: “Translations of the translations,” as he explains in the preface. The resulting pairs allow the attentive reader to experience a conversation between two poets across time and space.

The first poem here is the direct translation, followed by Carson’s original response.

A l’écoute: Receiver

The vision lingers
trembling the hand which writes it down
in a room of the inn by starlight
evening drowns
the potato field.
When the farmer hears a footfall on the road
he leaves off digging
then turns on
his private listening
to the sounds of his world.

All Clear

Every ear tunes to the radio
to hear Westminster
toll, a voice giving out
by night
through the blackout searchlights crisscross
by dawn
it is all clear, the ruins silent
save for
the footfall of a drunken soldier
the echo of his song.

Ciaran Carson, from From Elsewhere (2015)

More about National Translation Month
NTM was founded in 2013 with three primary objectives: promoting translation scholarship, increasing translation prevalence in literary education, and promoting foreign language authors across cultures. NTM reminds readers of the increased literature accessibility and insight that translations offer. Translation expands cultural awareness and the field of literature in an increasingly global society. Read more on the National Translation Month website.

Categories: Ciaran Carson, Poem of the Week, Poetry, TranslationTags: ,

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