Links, Literary Translation, Translation

New Words #10: Translating Formal Poetry

I used to say I would never translate poetry—especially not formal poetry. Conveying meaning and overcoming gaps in cultural knowledge is tricky enough, so adding rhyme and meter into the mix just struck me as unreasonable.

That changed about two years ago when I read Íntimas, the 1913 novel by Adela Zamudio, a writer, educator, and activist who is remembered as the foremost figure in Bolivia’s feminist movement. I loved the novel’s morally complex protagonists and the author’s use of acerbic wit to offset the sentimentality of the plot, and since it has never been published in English, I decided to translate a sample to see if I could get a publisher interested.

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