Ciaran Carson In the Light Of

ISBN 13: 9781930630628

In the Light Of

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9781930630628: In the Light Of

Ciaran Carson has a distinguished history of translation from the Italian (The Inferno of Dante Alighieri, 2002), the Irish (The Midnight Court, 2005; and The Táin, 2007) as well as from the French (The Alexandrine Plan, 1998). He states in his Author’s Note” that these versons are not conventional translations. . . . There are instances where I have added to or taken away from the original. I have sometimes twisted Rimbaud’s words. And Rimbaud’s words, of course, twisted mine . . .” Carson’s idea of the translator’s work is like the French poet’s own visionary idea of how poetry conveys the hypnotic violence of the real: The poet makes himself a seer through a long, prodigious and rational disordering of the senses.” Carson continues: However we gloss the title Illuminations, the poems flit within the inward eye like a brightly-coloured magic lantern slides, pictures from a marvellous book, visions of another world, scenes from an avant-garde film. Rimbaud was avant-garde before the Avant-garde; a surrealist before Surrealism; and, environmentalist avant la lettre, his critique of industrial society in some of these poems is still relevant today. In all senses he was indeed a seer.” Only a poet of Carson’s skills could translate the poetry of the poète maudit in the light of” the original.

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About the Author:

Born in 1948 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Ciaran Carson studied at Queen’s University, Belfast, where, from 2003 2015, he served as the director of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry. Though recently retired from that post, he continues to teach a postgraduate poetry workshop there, in addition to overseeing the Belfast Writers’ Group. Earlier in his career (from 1975 1998), Ciaran Carson acted as an arts officer for the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. He is also a member of Aosdána and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. A writer of both poetry and prose fiction and non-fiction alike Ciaran Carson has also translated many texts, including The Midnight Court, a work of the eighteenth-century poet Brian Merriman, and a version of Dante’s The Inferno, which won the Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize. His other awards include the first-ever T. S. Eliot Prize (1994, for First Language), and the Forward Prize for Best Collection (2003, for Breaking News). As well as being a significant poet and careful translator, Carson is also a scholar of traditional Irish music; he frequently plays the flute alongside his wife, the accomplished Irish fiddler Deirdre Shannon. He has said: I’m not interested in ideologies . . . I’m interested in the words, and how they sound to me, how words connect with experience, of fear, of anxiety . . . Your only responsibility is to the language.”

Review:

In recent years, poetic translation has largely been dominated by the version, subject to the will or particular preoccupations of the translator, who is more often than not an accomplished poet in his or her own right. In the British Isles, we may number such notable versions as Alice Oswald s Memorial, a refashioning of Homer s Iliad from the viewpoint of its lesser heroes; Don Paterson s Orpheus, a versioning of Rilke s famous sonnets discussed at a glance by Peter Howarth in his recent review of Selected Poems in London Review of Books.... in this context, Ciaran Carson s new book becomes a progressive revolution, taking the version to its next stage by reintegrating what Walter Benjamin once termed the original s mode of signification.

The ingenuity of Carson s approach is his audacious use of form. Opening In the Light Of, the reader expecting Rimbaud is not expecting to see verse at all, but verse is exactly what the reader finds verse poems, culled from the source text s tempestuous prose. ...
[This form might seem] on the face of it, seem erroneous. After all, unlike verse, which ensures a poem s formal unity through pre-established conventions like rhyme and meter, prose necessitates its unity be generated by the text itself. Rimbaud s organic, image-drunk poems are in prose, not verse, prose that sought to crack open the entrenched formalism of its time. Any question of reproducing its original metre is moot. But Carson speaks to his process:

At first, it seemed perverse to translate prose poems into verse: but the more I worked the more it became apparent that many passages in Rimbaud s musical prose could be read as verse, with a prosody of their own, scanned, rhymed, alliterated. One could see incipient sonnets embedded therein; and it happened that several of my versions came out as fourteen lines.

One is reminded of Benjamin s imperative: a translation, instead of resembling the meaning of the original, must lovingly and in detail incorporate the original s mode of signification, thus making both the original and the translation recognizable as fragments of a greater language, just as fragments are part of a vessel. Carson s book forms around a central metaphor, from which it branches outward, crystalline, again and again returning and rebranching a hybridized image embodied in and embodying Carson s own methodology, naturally rhizomatic in the Deleuzian sense.

Carson s choice of rhyming couplets, moreover, compounds the effects of this metaphorical framework. For example, in the poem Cities (Villes), rhyme brings together the disparate elements of Rimbaud s vision surround paired with resound, gorges with gorgeous. Perhaps the most interesting coupling is abyss and borealis, combining depth with distance, embodying the all-encompassing vastness of the cities. ...
Ciaran Carson has created a monster in the frame of 62 pages, a cohesive extension of Rimbaud s original that is itself an independent whole. In his premise, he has taken an enormous risk. But in doing so, he has also shaped a book that stands alone in his predecessor s lengthy afterlife. What it means for poetic translation in the twenty-first century can, at present, only be guessed at, but certainly Carson has created a thoroughly resonant, readable, allegorical work. He has given us something new: a dialectical renovation of Rimbaud s notorious light. --Matthew R Shelton, Colfront

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Book Description Wake Forest University Press, 2014. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Ciaran Carson has a distinguished history of translation from the Italian (The Inferno of Dante Alighieri, 2002), the Irish (The Midnight Court, 2005; and The Tain, 2007) as well as from the French (The Alexandrine Plan, 1998). He states in his Author s Note that these versons are not conventional translations. . . . There are instances where I have added to or taken away from the original. I have sometimes twisted Rimbaud s words. And Rimbaud s words, of course, twisted mine . . . Carson s idea of the translator s work is like the French poet s own visionary idea of how poetry conveys the hypnotic violence of the real: The poet makes himself a seer through a long, prodigious and rational disordering of the senses. Carson continues: However we gloss the title Illuminations, the poems flit within the inward eye like a brightly-coloured magic lantern slides, pictures from a marvellous book, visions of another world, scenes from an avant-garde film. Rimbaud was avant-garde before the Avant-garde; a surrealist before Surrealism; and, environmentalist avant la lettre, his critique of industrial society in some of these poems is still relevant today. In all senses he was indeed a seer. Only a poet of Carson s skills could translate the poetry of the poete maudit in the light of the original. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9781930630628

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Book Description Wake Forest University Press, 2014. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Ciaran Carson has a distinguished history of translation from the Italian (The Inferno of Dante Alighieri, 2002), the Irish (The Midnight Court, 2005; and The Tain, 2007) as well as from the French (The Alexandrine Plan, 1998). He states in his Author s Note that these versons are not conventional translations. . . . There are instances where I have added to or taken away from the original. I have sometimes twisted Rimbaud s words. And Rimbaud s words, of course, twisted mine . . . Carson s idea of the translator s work is like the French poet s own visionary idea of how poetry conveys the hypnotic violence of the real: The poet makes himself a seer through a long, prodigious and rational disordering of the senses. Carson continues: However we gloss the title Illuminations, the poems flit within the inward eye like a brightly-coloured magic lantern slides, pictures from a marvellous book, visions of another world, scenes from an avant-garde film. Rimbaud was avant-garde before the Avant-garde; a surrealist before Surrealism; and, environmentalist avant la lettre, his critique of industrial society in some of these poems is still relevant today. In all senses he was indeed a seer. Only a poet of Carson s skills could translate the poetry of the poete maudit in the light of the original. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9781930630628

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