Monday, January 28, 2013

Plunkett on Merwin's translations

The world of Merwin’s translations is flat. In his English, the Spanish sounds just like the Eskimo (although the latter features a seal and the former just a dog). You cannot distinguish poems of different languages from the originals—there are none—nor by notes that explain regional symbols and literary traditions—there are hardly any notes at all. What is odd and distinctive about Merwin is that I doubt that he’d take these observations as criticisms.
-- from Adam Plunkett's review of Merwin's Selected Translations for New Republic