Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Le Poète est semblable au prince des nuées

It's not everyday that I get to point to something about Baudelaire, but now the occasion is here.

Powell's Review-a-Day features a review from Rain Taxi for a new translation of Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal by Keith Waldrop. And it's not your everyday translation: The form of Waldrop's translation is versets, "a form that hovers between poetry and prose," as the book's front flap advertises.

I have long been a fan of Baudelaire and for just as long I've wanted to write my own translations of his poetry (I've translated only around a dozen). Every translation I've read seems insufficient, relying on replicating the rhyme or rhythm The words, though, are the important part. It is what Baudelaire's saying that moves me.

I don't know if this translation will give me what I want in English. I'm afraid that Waldrop is after something stylistically that compromises Baudelaire's intent. I'm willing to give it a try, though.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know if you've discovered this site which offers several different translations of Baudelaire's work (many of which are quite beautiful.) In either case, it's always lovely to know that another will be coming out soon.

    (As Google Beta is giving me some trouble, here is a link back to my blog.)