Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lorca's "Adam"

I'm reading the New Directions Selected Poems of Federico Garcia Lorca, and I'm feeling pretty unimpressed with the translations. The book first came out in 1955, and most of the translations sound like they've been done by English Literature professors from Ivy League schools, who don't actually speak Spanish. Roy Cambpbell's translation of Lorca's "Adam" in particular feels flatfooted and wooden. He contorts the lines in order to make them rhyme, but then he doesn't bother to follow the rhyme scheme Lorca set's forth. To me, it seems like making it rhyme matters less than maintaining a power of image, and a level of elegance. Let's see if I can do any better.


"Adan" (Lorca's Version)

Arbol de sangre moja la manana
por donde gime la recien parida.
Su voz deja cristales en la herida
y un grafico de hueso en la ventana.

Mientras la luz que viene fija y gana
blancas metas de fabula que olvida
el tumulto de venas en la huida
hacia el turbio frescor de la manzana.

Adan suena en la fiebre de la arcilla
un nino que se acerca galopando
por el doble latir de su mejilla.

Pero otro Adan oscuro seta sonando
nuetra luna de piedra sin semilla
donde el nino de luz se ira quemando.


"Adam" (translated by Roy Campbell)

The morning by a tree of blood was dewed
and near to it the newborn woman groans.
Her voice left glass within the wound, and strewed
the window with a diagram of bones.

Meanwhile the day had reached with steady light
the limits of the fable, which evades
the tumult of the bloodstream in its flight
towards the dim cool apple in the shades.

Adam, within the fever of the clay,
dreams a young child comes galloping his way,
felt in his cheeks, with double pulse of blood.

But a dark other Adam dreaming yearned
for a stone neuter moon, where no seeds bud,
in which that child of glory will be burned.


"Adam" (translated by Marcos Soriano)

A tree of blood wets the dawn
where the newborn woman moans.
Her voice leaves glass in the wound,
and in the window, a graphic of bone.

Meanwhile, the light comes steady, gaining
fabled white goals, which forget
the tumult of veins in flight
toward the turbid chill of the apple.

Adam dreams, in the fever of clay,
of a boy who comes galloping near
by the doubled pulse in his cheek.

But another, darker Adam is dreaming
a neutered, stone moon without seeds
where the boy of light will go burning.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Pretty cool program online called Wordle. You paste any block of text into their program, hit go, and they turn it into a "word cloud," with the most often used words appearing biggest. You can customize the image in certain ways, change font and color and alignment of the words and stuff like that. The above image resulted from my story "Jumper at the Hyatt," first published in Instant City #5.