Kisla Rami 27.12.

10 AP English Meta for Poetry in Translation Poetry in a different language other than English is much more difficult to read and a lot more difficult to understand. Although a poem is usually beautiful on its own because of poets¶ decisions such as diction and style, the meaning and the message of a poem is also crucial to completely understanding the poem. It¶s not every day that one finds an Albanian poem written by a woman writer because education is very scarce in Albania. Not everyone takes advantage of the school systems and most kids don¶t choose to continue after high school; they usually begin working for a family business or a factory. I was very intrigued in this Albanian poem because as I began to translate each word, I found myself puzzled about the meaning. The words made sense but I didn¶t automatically understand what Lleshanaku discussing until I started to rewrite the poem on my own and make decisions that I believed were effective to the meaning. Luljeta Lleshanaku was born in 1968 in Elbasan, Albania under Enver Hoxha¶s dictatorship (Nobles). Lleshanaku¶s poetry is translated and edited by poet Henry Israeli and presents American readers with a different perspective of a young, contemporary writer in a Stalinist regime of Enver Hoxha. Luljeta grew up under house arrest and was prohibited from attending college until the collapse of the regime in the early 90¶s (Nobles). Her poetry often refers to winter and night time landscapes in order to relate to the melancholic mood she was often in during her life of imprisonment (Nobles). Lleshanaku¶s poem ³The White Stain´ was written in 2004, long after her struggle in Albania. She continued to study at the University of

Tirana, became a literary magazine editor for a magazine named ³Drita´, and was also a school teacher (Nobles). When I first read ³Njolla e Bardhe´, I was blatantly confused and it took me some time to get through the poem because I didn¶t know how to pronounce certain words or I didn¶t know exactly what they meant in Albanian. With the help of my grandmother and parents, I read the poem over and over again and it finally began to make sense to me, especially after I translated it word for word. The original translation by Henry Israeli seems to be more of a summary than a translation because Israeli chooses to exclude significant words that would otherwise have a large impact on the poem and he chooses to use docile vocabulary which one way or another lessens the quality of the original poem. For example, ³My head on your left shoulder´ seems more of a statement without any emotion or feeling behind it. Israeli chose to omit the word ³mbeshtetur´ which means ³resting´ in Albanian. I chose to include ³resting´ and I also chose to space it differently because I felt that it had a much greater impact that way and it made the author feel the emotions behind ³the head resting´ on the other person¶s shoulder, as if there¶s more to the story here than just a simple gesture. Israeli also chooses to leave out the ³karakterin e ngjeshur e naiv prej femije´ which is translated to ³the crowded character of a naive child´. I chose to include this in my translation because I believed that it was crucial to keeping the originality of the poem rather than excluding or including what I personally felt was better for the translation. Also, instead of saying ³valence zero´, I decided to say ³no valence´ because I believed it flowed much better with ³a gray metallic loneliness´. Again, the idea of ³loneliness´ and ³no valence´ relate back to

Lleshanaku¶s desperation and struggle with her freedom in real life. It¶s important to keep in mind her motive for her poetry and writing as well. When we picked apart my poem in class, I was questioned about the spacing of my poem and why I chose to not keep the original stanzas that are apparent in Lleshanaku¶s poem. The reason why is because when I read the original poem, I pictured the stanzas scattered around rather than written in traditional form. They seemed much more effective that way than they seemed in the original poem. I chose to incorporate the ³thermometer falling slowly´ in order to refer back to the idea of winter and coldness which is a very important part of the poem because it relates to the idea of love sort of ³dying off´. I¶m not exactly sure why Israeli chose to include dashes in his translation but I personally felt like they didn¶t serve a strong purpose. Instead of including dashes in my translation, I chose to include spaces and punctuation for the effect that the original poem had. Although Israeli has four stanzas like the original poem, his translation doesn¶t do the original poem much justice because of how much he chose to exclude. When I rearranged my translation to four stanzas, it wasn¶t as effective as the way I had had it originally because I felt as if it was dragging on. At the end of my poem, I chose to keep the repetition that is evident in the last two lines of Lleshanaku¶s poem because I knew that it would accurately portray the original repetition in the poem. Colors usually have many different meanings in different cultures. In the Albanian culture, white represents peace and tranquility, such as the white dove that is commonly placed on top of the Christmas tree rather than a star. The idea of a ³white stain´ is very contradicting because a stain is usually a dark spot, no one really thinks of it as a white spot. When I translated the poem, it was evident that there were many sexual innuendos in it such as

³striptease of autumn´, temperature falling like ³translucent undergarments´, and the ³shadow slipping slowly from the chair like an evening dress´. I believe that the poem is about a withering love and the fact that feelings and emotions change like the seasons. Since the color white may mean death in other cultures, maybe Lleshanaku was using that idea to describe a dying love in her own poem and the ³zero valence´ may have referred to the lack of chemistry between the speaker and their significant other. ³The destination´ was reached at the end meaning that the love was over between the two individuals.