At 3:AM Magazine, SJ Fowler conducts a brief but excellent interview with Johannes Göransson, with an emphasis on translation. “When you bring translations into the discussion, people tend to get suspicious,” says Goransson.
How do we know that the poem is good in the original? That it’s a “faithful” translation? That we’re not being fooled? How can we master all this excess? You can’t of course. And that’s the beauty of it. You’re just going to have to deal with it without those hierarchical filters.
It seems natural that American poets and poetry readers should become interested in works in translation at a time when – due to various changes in publishing and dissemination mostly – American poetry has become very anarchic. Critics and academics always complain: there is too much of it! How do we know what’s good? They invent hierarchies of “innovative” poetry so they don’t have to dive into the excess, but in so doing they’re not only compromising their academic credibility (how can you be an “expert” on American poetry and have never read any of these wild, small Internet journals or participated in any of its sadistic blog discussions?) but they’re also losing out on a poetry scene that is constantly mutating and getting infected and multiplying and changing. Most of all they’re losing out on some really interesting poetry. But losing is of course what it’s all about.
Read the full interview at 3:AM Magazine
See also, Johannes’s Entrance to a colonial pageant in which we all begin to intricate