Yes, there is a kind of poetry made for the way it looks, not the way it sounds. Can't remember what it's called though I've seen some of it over the years here and there.
This discussion is so mail art-ish! I love how everything can be deconstructed or reconstructed or ignored altogether. I mean it - it makes me laugh like a kid when I watch artists approach EVERYTHING. Because there are as many ways to approach as there are artists. It makes me hopeful for humanity sometimes.
As you know, Rod, since you've heard some of my spoken word/poetry stuff, I am definitely of the communication through words and sound types of poets. That's one reason I also write songs and make lyrics as well as non-verbal sounds part of much of my improvisational music. I have always been into what words mean as well as how they sound - in all of the languages I've studied and learned. Some things can be said so much more beautifully or meaningfully or succinctly in one language rather than another.
Also, some languages fit one's own brain and temperament better than others - not always the ones you grow up with. For me, Swedish was one of those and I still dream in Swedish and write poetry and songs in Swedish even though I haven't lived there in 30 + years. There's something about the way Swedish works as a language which fits my brain very well and seems very evocative of how and what I think. Other languages I've learned, even if I know them fluently, often don't fit me as well. In fact, I do a kind of chameleon act when I speak them, becoming a different form of me to suit THEM. I find that really wonderful as I need many different languages to express my thoughts and feelings fully. (Of course I only found this out as I studied them and lived in other countries but, once I realized it, I just kept putting myself in the position to do it.)
Anyway, I also prefer to hear EVERYTHING in the original language to hear and see what things come from the language and the gestures and how the mouth and face form the words. But, I do like to eventually know what the words mean in a literal and cultural sense because I like to have some sense of what the artist was attempting to express.
Rod, it's interesting what you say about the translation process - I see what you mean (the poem you shared with us - I can understand some of it because I had to study Old Icelandic (which is different of course from modern) when I was studying Scandinavian languages. I can't get the nuances, though. When I was doing my folklore degree, I was doing a lot of translating of poetry from Swedish to English and I found that there is a kind of magic to it, almost. You have to translate the meaning and the effects of the sounds both, if you can - like rhyming couplets should still rhyme in English, though that takes some work and art both to accomplish. When it works, it's another artform in itself. Some translators can do that - certain people translate authors and poets better than others for the same reason, I think. It's sort of a thing where you submerge your ego to the point where you take in another person's words and retell them in a way which is more like their way than your own... something like that. Of course, it's all very subjective... I don't say I know what happens in anyone else's mind when they are translating but I've seen the results of some kind of magic in other people's translations, however they achieved it. (A perfect example which jumps to mind is John Nathan's translations of Yukio Mishima's work - when I got to the point where I could read Mishima in Japanese, I realized just how intuitive and brilliant Nathan's translations were - they were great even before then but I didn't know whether or not that was his own writing skill or his ability to get Mishima's writing across to an English-speaking reader.)
Wow, this topic is really getting me going. I think I'll go read something! ;)
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