READING: Encounters & Translations
Gallery Chronicle (November)

Translations in Livestream

In the spirit of the transnational exhibition "Exchange Rates Bushwick," the artist/translator/organizer Paul D'Agostino hosted "Renderings: Encounters & Translations" last Sunday at Livestream Public in Brooklyn. Now, thanks to Livestream, we can watch the full "series of readings and presentations of translations rendered, translations encountered, translations variably treasured."

Dara reads Kafka at 25:45 & Valery at 1:07:55. She is joined on stage by Paul, Matthew Rossi, Alice Lynn McMichael, Andrea Monti, Todd Portnowitz, and Cecco the Turtle. 

One of Paul's assignments was to compare translations. Dara picked "Les Pas" by Paul Valéry. Here is the original:
Les Pas
 
Tes pas, enfants de mon silence, 
Saintement, lentement placés,
Vers le lit de ma vigilance
Procèdent muets et glacés.
 
Personne pure, ombre divine,
Qu'ils sont doux, tes pas retenus!
Dieux!... tous les dons que je devine
Viennent à moi sur ces pieds nus!
 
Si, de tes lèvres avancées,
Tu prépares pour l'apaiser,
A l'habitant de mes pensées
La nourriture d'un baiser,
 
Ne hâte pas cet acte tendre,
Douceur d'être et de n'être pas,
Car j'ai vécu de vous attendre,
Et mon coeur n'était que vos pas.

Here is Dara's translation of "The Steps"

The Steps

Your steps, children of my silence,
Sacred, slowly placed,
Proceed icy and silent
To the bed where I wake.

Body pure, spirit divine,
How sweet, your discreet steps!
God! Every gift I find
Appears on naked feet! 

If, with your advancing lips
You prepare to appease me,
Consuming my thoughts
With the food of your kiss,

Do not hasten this tender act,
So sweet to anticipate,
Because I lived waiting for you,
And my heart was the steps you take. 

 And here is Paul D'Agostino's translation of the same poem, which he calls "Footsteps"

Footsteps
 
Saintly, slowly placed
Are your footsteps, those quiet kids,
Unto the bed where I lie awake,
They approach with muted skids.
 
Holy shade, person so pure,
Your paces so soft and sweet!
Dear god, the gifts I conjure
Coming to me on those bare feet.
 
And if, upon your lips
You pucker at their tips
The nourishment of your kiss
To sate my mind's hungered fits,
 
Let it be not an act of swiftness,
Sweetness of being and being not,
For I have lived to await your footsteps
That give form and beat to my heart.

For  commentary, here is James's coverage of the event in 140 characters or less

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