Thoughts behind poetry

When I was first being introduced to poetry as a child, I really enjoyed it. Maybe because I was never a good reader and enjoyed how small the readings are. Or maybe it was because all poems have so much meaning within them. Although the older I got the more difficult it was for me to translate and figure out what was trying to be said. Probably due to the higher devision of poetry I was being assigned to read, it made it more difficult. For example, the book Buzzing Hemispheres by Urayoan Noel, is full of poems, and although there was some I could understand, there was a handful of poems I just couldn’t quite translate.  For example, like this poem below,

the rocky point dissolves
diluted is the line
that once marked
the noise of the morning
between radio and storm
When I finish reading that I don’t even know what to say about it, I feel like it doesn’t rhythm and doesn’t give a good image of whats being said. Many other poems in this book left me confused on what the author was trying to say.  Although its not just this author or book, its other kinds of poetry also.
A poem I really enjoyed after reading Buzzing Hemispheres by Urayoan Noel,  was
I should have been there with you
exposed and exposing
or at least making
instead of mumbling
this solidarity—
With Blue—uncertain stumbling Buzz
Between the light—and me.

the reason I enjoyed this poem, was because I felt like I understood the meaning behind it, and what was trying to be said. It seems like this person is talking about someone that they had one last chance with, or possibly they were dying and they regret that they couldn’t reach out to them, and didn’t tell them how they really felt about them, instead they stayed to themselves in solidarity as the poem states. I felt like it had a sad tone which I also enjoyed because it felt real, and is probably going to be a feeling that everyone is going to understand at one point in their life. Although rhyming poems makes more sense to me I still ponder on the harder poems, and appreciate their deeper poems like this one.


If you could choose?

Are you ever just bored of your life, you feel like you’re not doing the right thing, or maybe that you could be doing something better? I get that feeling a lot, sometimes you just want to be doing something else. I tried to pretend what if you could go to a different “side,” a perfect world with no crimes, no violence, never having to experience hunger. Would you choose that side? Or would you stay where you’re at, in your “boring” life?

In the book Utopia there was two separate areas, one being Utopia, and the other being “The Outside.” The difference between the two is Utopia is this ideal world for the rich, where everything is said to be perfect, no violence, no worries. Whereas the outside is for the poor, and starving. You didn’t have a choice in which side you grew up in, rather just born into it. Although you could try to find a way to the opposite side but most of the time it never lead to anything good. For example those from Utopia could find a way to the outside, but would have to pretend to look like an outsider, whereas the outsiders were instantly killed trying to make their way in through the gate.”In Utopia, where death retreats behind barbed wires and becomes nothing but a game that adolescents dream of…”(6) It wasn’t hard telling the difference between the two, mostly because their appearance. With an exception of working, a few outsiders were allowed in, but strictly for working purposes only. If you were from the outside you either wanted to be apart of Utopia, or wanted nothing to do with it. But is Utopia really this perfect world that everyone would rather be in?

In Utopia, “the better life,” you are rich and happy, theres no violence, danger, all your needs are meant, AND you have anything you could possibly want. But does that really make them happy? To just have everything handed to them? Everyone believes that happiness will come with Utopia, but it doesn’t. You wonder though, why not all happiness? How could you not be happy when you have everything? It’s the same reason why we get bored and tired of our lives. It’s just the same thing, nothing changes, we get bored. You think maybe living in this other world could be better.

In Alaa’s case living in Utopia was boring to him, there was nothing to look forward to and nothing to excite him. He would read as an escape, he would do whatever he had to in order to find excitement. “I told him that reading, as far as I’m concerned, is a cheap drug. I use it only to withdraw from my conscious self.”(6) I think he felt like he was in a stimulation, like there was no reality, no risks, you could do anything and you would still survive, because that was Utopia. But is living in a “stimulation” how you want to spend your life? Even if this stimulation is perfect and harmless. A lot of people would die to live or even spend a day in the perfect Utopia life, yet for Alaa it was a hell to even be there. So what would you choose the rich, boring, “perfect” life? Or the poor, hungry, free life? Change can be good, so is it for the better? I know I would prefer to live in “The Outside” rather than having this perfect life turn into boredom and misery.


The Truth about Translation!

While reading the book 19 Ways of Looking at Wang Wei by Eliot Weinberger and analyzing its different aspects, I got a better idea of what poetry really is, from not only English but different languages as well. I’ve always referred to translation as the change from one language to another depending on how someone interprets what is being said. Which I’m sure is a common definition of translation to many. Whereas many people might think of translation as change or conversion to another form, appearance, etc.;transformation:”     Neither definition is wrong,  because translation simply is, “The process of translating words or text from one language into another.”

But what I have recently learned is the translation of poetry is always misunderstood, and the true meaning of the content is then lost. Who knew that translating could be so difficult when trying to capture the exact meaning and tone that is trying to be used.


Picture Source: 

In 19 Ways of Looking at Wang Wei, there is many different examples and proof of poetry being misperceived. Something I have always noticed when translating from one language to another is, the word they may be using in the beginning of the sentence could end up in the middle or even end of the sentence. In chapter 21 I found Le Clos-aux-Cerfs  by Francois Cheng beginning with “Montagne deserte” and then being translated as “Deserted Mountains.”(65) That is exactly what I mean when I say a poem could start with a word and then get swapped around to the end. I assume Montagne means mountains and deserte means desert or deserted where as it became translated as “deserted mountains.” The thing about that is it could’ve been originally written as desert mountains, but we never really know because it isn’t a language we could easily translate ourselves. Because words can get swapped around, it loses its meaning in the process which gives the reader a different perception of what it is really trying to be said.   It’s sad knowing that poetry has lost its sentimental value over time, while people translate it into there own language losing the original meaning.