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  #11  
Unread 02-28-2022, 04:50 AM
W T Clark W T Clark is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julie Steiner View Post
[s]Alexander, a quick search shows that you have only critiqued 9 of the 15 poems required before posting your own work for comment. So this thread will probably be locked until you've critiqued 6 more poems.
Also, Julie, for one to be able to post they would have to private message a moderator or administration. Therefore, at least one person thinks Alexander's 15 comments all count.
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  #12  
Unread 02-28-2022, 04:54 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Hi Alexander,

You're right on the rhymes, I was mistakenly looking at the crib rather than the poem. Still my point remains that the translation seems to lose from the original and I think you can get closer.

Yes, a lump in the throat implies that tears are near in English, albeit there's no implication that any effort is being made to hold those tears back. Nor does it follow from the lump in the throat that one's thoughts are in turmoil.

I'd say that "a bullet in the barrel" is definitely meaningful in the context of the poem and doesn't seem to me to be a rhyme-driven fudge. That would seem quite a big assumption to make of any poem, unless you think it a bad one.

My take is that the Fatherland being in peril has two meanings. In the first S it means that Russia is in literal peril, under attack. In the latter, having become the aggressor, it's in moral peril.

I'd imagine that the lump in the throat is being connected to the invasion and the N's feelings about it, it's an invasion in which the poet (or his nation) are now the aggressors -- they are the ones who point the loaded gun. And this is what upsets the N, why tears are close. Even if it's not exactly that, having a bullet in the barrel of your gun, and hence a loaded gun, hence one which is ready to be fired, seems pretty significant if you're the invading side.

best,

Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 02-28-2022 at 01:44 PM.
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  #13  
Unread 02-28-2022, 09:13 AM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W T Clark View Post
Also, Julie, for one to be able to post they would have to private message a moderator or administration. Therefore, at least one person thinks Alexander's 15 comments all count.
Yes, I was wrong about that, and I apologize to everyone (but especially to Alexander) for muddling things right from the start. I'll remove that error so that it's less distracting at the top of the thread. I will leave my other errors visible, so that the responses to them downthread will still make sense.

Alexander, I must admit that on my first few readings of your verse translation, I did not pick up on any rhymes at all but the ones with "soil." Then I saw the original and realized that I should be expecting certain lines to rhyme with each other. I think you'll agree that there's a different experience of a poem with easily recognizable rhymes vs. a poem that, if studied, elicits a reaction of, "Ohhhhh, okay, now I see what the poet is doing rhyme-wise, and this line is supposed to chime with that one...and yeah, I guess it kind of does." I had the latter reaction.

It's also always a struggle to decide how to convey things that the audience might not know, but needs to, in order to understand the context of a poem. The choices are 1) to provide contextual notes, 2) to try to slip clues into the poem text itself, and 3) to give up and hope for the best. I hope my failure to get the right answer about the contrast between defense and offense, though both are justified by the same jingoistic slogan, is helpful to your decisions there.

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 03-01-2022 at 08:56 AM.
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  #14  
Unread 02-28-2022, 01:51 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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You've gotten good comments already, so I'll just add a few scattered thoughts of my own.

-- Is "On that day" in the original? I don't see it in the crib. At any rate, the phrase "breezing airily" seems weak to me. For one thing, it's simply not good English to say "the sky is breezing," but even if it were, adding "airily" would be redundant since all breezes are made of air. Can there be a breeze that doesn't move 'airily'? There's little point in forcing the issue, since there's no way it registers as a rhyme with "peril" in any event. It's hard to find a near rhyme for "peril," admittedly, but what you have doesn't work. Maybe try "pearl"? The sky was white as pearl?

-- The inversion in L2 doesn't help. Also, I think "recoiled" is much more abstract than "cramped," and I'd prefer a cramped heart to a recoiled soul.

-- What happened to Tsarskoe Selo? You've simply written it out of the poem? Why would you do that? Also, "our own" in L5 seems off to me. What does "own" add?

-- I'm not sure where you got "merriment", but now that you are using "barrel" instead of "trunk," I would suggest you contrive to have "barrel" end the first line of the stanza, since it would be a pretty good slant rhyme with "peril."

-- Instead of "Through the tears held back" try "Through held-back tears" . . . but better yet, maybe try something that has its roots in the original text, where I see nothing about tears but I do see a major omission: the bullet in the barrel. Where is the bullet in your translation? Where is the barrel? In their place, you've added held-back tears and thoughts in turmoil, but these seem to have an extremely tenuous relationship to anything in the original.

Last edited by Roger Slater; 02-28-2022 at 02:50 PM.
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  #15  
Unread 02-28-2022, 05:20 PM
Alexander Givental Alexander Givental is offline
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Hi Susan, in your short message you made several comments - thanks! - so, let me try to understand them separately.

"turmoil" - I know that it is stressed on the first syllable, but it has a secondary stress on the 2nd, and it is what I tried to exploit. Since the 1st is also stressed, this creates a spondee (which is not unusual - but, admittedly, goes against my own declarations elsewhere). Anyway, you are saying it is too much here - OK, I'll try to think of something else instead.

"trochaic" - yes, this is the meter. The point, however, is that a reader doesn't need to know anything about meters or look for a particular one. The metric structure is hidden in semantic stresses not falling on weak syllables of the meter (so, "turmoil" is indeed a problem here). Thus, if the reader just reads the text normally for the meaning, that would (not agree, but) not conflict the trochaic meter. That's how it is supposed to sound (I combine the words which form a single phonetic group with a single stress shown in bold but also italicize the syllables where the semantic stresses seem discretional:

..Былонебо вголубиной ясности,
Носердца отхолода свело:
Граждане, Отечество вопасности!
Танки входят вЦарское Село!

Onthatday thesky wasbreezing airily,
Butfromfreezingcold oursouls recoiled:
"Citizens, ourhomeland isinperil!
Foreigntanks areplowing ourownsoil!"

For the same reason

"Andagain, asthunder amidmerriment"

doesn't conflict the trochaic meter (and moreover the meter forces you
to leave "amid" totally unstressed - which is semantically possible since it
is a preposition).

About "merriment" itself - as I explained in another reply, I didn't think of
it as far from "idleness" because the root in праздность is the same as in "holiday" and "celebration". But it indeed might undermine the author's success here in finding the right rhyme because праздность in the meaning of "indifference resulting in the lack of action" fits well with the message.

In contrast, "dove" was unlikely to be a part of the message - just a metaphorical designation of the blue color with the right number of syllables. But you are not the last one to complain that "sky breezing airily" contains too much tautology and should be changed (if that's what you meant by unnatural English).
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  #16  
Unread 02-28-2022, 07:19 PM
Alexander Givental Alexander Givental is offline
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[quote=Julie Steiner;476467]Yes, I was wrong about that] (that was about 15 comments)

Julie, don't worry, I myself wasn't sure what counts and what not. So I asked the administrator, and still don't know the right answer, but I was okeyed for starting a thread. Perhaps the translation forum was going slow, so there was no much harm in throwing fresh food to the sharks.

And indeed - thanks for numerous critiques! There are some theoretical issues where I disagree and would be very much interested to discuss, but probably I should now focus on how to improve my variant, and will raise those issues when I have a better version.
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  #17  
Unread 03-01-2022, 08:15 AM
W T Clark W T Clark is offline
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I think my post #10 must have gone unnoticed.
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  #18  
Unread 03-06-2022, 03:32 PM
Alexander Givental Alexander Givental is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W T Clark View Post
I think my post #10 must have gone unnoticed.
Sorry - I did see the post, and took notice of your observations (to be taken into account in my next draft), but I indeed didn't reply directly, and actually took a few-days vacation from Eratosphere - mostly watching the news from Ukraine.

"Bluebird" is an interesting suggestion; I am afraid though in the given context it would just mean "blue [sky]" and therefore feel like a sheer poeticism.

Thanks for the comparison of "cramped heart" vs. "recoiled soul" - I should be able to take it into account in the next draft.

I also find your remark about the consonants quite educational. Yet, translation being concerned: why are we talking about this? The expression "cramped heart" is under discussion only because it is literally what the original says. In Russian, сердца свело (the hearts are cramped) does not have this consonant quality at all (it is 4 syllables with 4 "singing" vowels, in particular - at the end of the words).

The effect of abruptness is achieved in the original by different means: L1 (about cheerful sky) has a 3-syllable ending (- u u), while L2 (with cramped hearts) has a masculine one. [Perhaps this also explains why I am trying, even at a cost to purity of the rhyme, to keep the 3-syllable ending of L1 - shortening it would change the sound/feel/mood completely.]

But I am almost ready to post Variant II.
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