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Translations from Memory

Ratings:
127 pages39 minutes

Summary

The memories from which Fred D’Aguiar translates these poems are cultural and personal, from the anciencies of the Gilgamesh epic to the modern world, from classical philosophy to C.L.R. James and Aimé Césaire, from Asia and Europe to the new world in which their destinies are unpredictably worked out.

A boy posted on a boat at sea
This boy is and is not me
As his vessel dips towards
Curved horizons so curves
Rise and back away
from ‘Trans Coda’

D’Aguiar’s concluding translations are of Derek Walcott and Kamau Brathwaite, masters and remakers of language and form, from whom (among a multitude of others) he takes his bearings. This unusual integration of tributes and the ironies they provoke give Translations a radical colouring: D’Aguiar is learned; he is also wry, alert to the false notes in history and what follows from them. ‘The world map    /    Turned from red to brown to black     /   And blue, drained of empire.’ And he is passionate, responding always to the deep feelings of others, from desire to love, elegy to celebration.

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