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© Ryan Gallagher for MHS AP Lit


Poetry in translation project, with comparative translation meta-cognitive Name:____________________________

Cover Sheet. The following items are due on 12.22.10 in the following order:       Original poem (typed or photocopied) with brief (100 – 150 word) biography of author of original poem (properly cited), only to put poem in context. Your translation of the poem. Word by word translation of the poem (with any notes.) One alternative translation by another translator. Your drafts (all copies with peer comments from class critique) Your meta-cognitive which explains the choices you made when translating the poem into contemporary American English & compares and contrasts your translation with another translation of the same poem. Recommended length: 4-6 pages.

Process for translations: (You will need to give us your packet at least one day ahead of time, properly collated so we can read for homework and mark-up. If you do not, you risk forfeiting your turn in critique)      Type original poem, paying close attention to replicate all aspects of the poem—from punctuation, capitalization, spelling, spacing & format on the page. Copy and paste poem onto another page leaving plenty of space between the lines and words. Look up every word in the dictionary (no matter how simple) and give word by word definitions; include any notes where necessary. Translate the poem into contemporary American English. Photocopy a different translation from another translator.

Grading criteria:  All of your work, including your final translation, will be graded for homework credit (50 points. You will receive 100% if all of the above criteria is met perfectly; 85% if criteria is mostly met; 70 % if there were many mistakes in following process & criteria; 60 % if translation was completed, but student did not follow the criteria of process listed above. You will receive a SRD grade based on your participation in critique sessions. See SRD rubric. Your meta-cognitive will be graded on the APE rubric and be counted as a ‘Major Project & / or Paper’.

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© Ryan Gallagher for MHS AP Lit


Example: 1. Original: (bring one copy for each of us in class.) LXXV Odi et amo. quare id faciam, fortasse requires. nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior. Gaius Valerius Catullus 2. Word–by-word translation: (bring one copy for each of us in class.)

Odi et (I) v. & to hate, to be displeased, etc.

amo (I) v. to love

quare Why, how, etc… begins a question.

id This that it etc. (pronoun)

faciam, (I) v. to act, behave, deal, and a million other general action verbs

fortasse adv. perhaps, possibly, maybe

requires. (you) v. to ask,

nescio, (I) v. not to know, to be ignorant of

sed but

fieri (I) v. To come into being, arise, come about be made, become, etc

sentio et (I) v. To discern & by the senses, to hear, feel, see etc. to experience

excrucior. Excrucio: v. to torment greatly, torture to death (physical or mental)

© Ryan Gallagher for MHS AP Lit


3. ‘Poetic’ Translation: (bring one copy for each of us in class.) 85 I hate and love. Why? You want to know why? I don’t know, but I feel fire and pain. Ryan Gallagher (© 2008, translated in 1999.)

4. Alternative translations: (bring one copy for each of us in class.) F.W. Cornish (1903): I hate and love. Why I do so, perhaps you ask. I know not, but I feel it, and I am in torment. Ezra Pound (1963): I hate and love. Why? You may ask but It beats me. I feel it done to me, and ache. James Michie (1969): I hate and love. If you ask me to explain The contradiction, I can’t, but I can feel it, and the pain Is crucifixion. Louis & Celia Zukofsky (1969): a homeophonic translation O th’hate I move love. Quarry it fact I am, for that’s so re queries. Nescience, say th’ fiery scent I owe whets crookeder. Jacob Rabinowitz (1991) I love her and hate her at the same time. How is that possible? I don’t know. It just is, and it nails me, hurting and helpless like a crucified slave. Peter Green (2005): I hate and love. You wonder, perhaps, why I’d do that? I have no idea. I just feel it. I am crucified.

© Ryan Gallagher for MHS AP Lit


Some of my thoughts on translating the poem:

Poem 85, possibly Catullus’ most famous poem despite its brevity, begins “Odi et amo”, or “I hate and I love”. We obviously lack the pronunciation of how this poem would have sounded from the mouth of an ancient Roman citizen, but we do know that this first phrase, “Odi et amo” would have been elided in the Latin, combining the two vowels “i” and “e” to fit the meter of the line. Orally, this speeds up the phrase, possibly offering an alternative meaning when it is heard as “S/he hates, I love”. But more obviously, these two disparate feelings of hate and love come closer together simply because the line speeds up. Catullus shows that these feelings can exist simultaneously in his mind without conflict: negative capability. He also stresses in the couplet that his source of creation may also be the same source of his intense suffering. In mythology, it was Discord who threw the apple.1

1 The myth of Discord and the Golden Apple could be an endless source for interpretation throughout this manuscript. In any case, Discord tossed a golden apple on the wedding table of Peleus and Thetis (also in Poem 64). Paris gets to choose who will possess the apple: Aphrodite, Athena, and Hera who promise him beautiful women, wealth, or power. Paris chooses Aphrodite who introduces him to Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world. This also becomes a source of the Trojan War.