Hello everyone,My name is Jenny and I’m a fourth year chemical engineering student. I’ve analysed poetry before, and think that an in-depth analysis of any of the poems will require more than 300 words so I’ve decided to focus on ‘I Det Fira’, with English translations.I think a ‘literal’ translation could cause problems with keeping the expressions more or less idiomatically correct in English, which is probably why ‘In the Clear’, was used, which I find less suitable as a translated title compared to ‘ Out in the Open’. A direct translation would probably be ‘In the Free’. The Free, as a Swedish expression is commonly used to describe nature, which is also the setting of the first stanza. The word ‘pincett’, line 5, stanza 1 is translated differently in the two English versions of the poem. One of them refers to it as ‘clippers’ while the other one translates the word to ‘pincers’, but the first word that comes into my head is ‘tweezers’. I wonder what you think about the different translations for this word. Also ‘häftig’ the last line of the last stanza can be used in Swedish to describe something intense. The different translations use ‘rapid’ and ‘tremendous’. Do you think there is a significant difference between the words?One key word I find interesting is ‘labyrint’ (Stanza 1, line 1), which is labyrinth in English. The theme of the poem is not explicitly revealed, and the labyrinth could be a symbol for answers that one has to dig deep and ponder upon for a while to find. Furthermore the expression: ‘ De som går dödens ärenden skyr inte dagsljuset.’ (Stanza 2, line 9) (They who do death’s errands are not afraid of daylight) is also very interesting. It reinforces the idea that death is always present, regardless of season or time of day.Lastly, the letter from America is also very interesting, since it acts as a trigger that sets off all the thoughts in Stanza 2. It seems to transport the narrator from the setting of Stanza 1 to Stanza 2. My suggestion of a topic for our discussion would be: What do you think the poem is about? It seems like a lot of things are hidden. I find the use of the cross as a symbol in the end particularly interesting. Why is the man whom the airplane passes comparable with Christ?
Hello Group! My name is Laura Good and I am a sophomore English major at Clemson University. My concentration is in literature and the course I am currently taking that corresponds to this poetry project is World Literature. I am enjoying the course and looking forward to this project as I find poetry to be one of the most complicated aesthetic works. For this analysis I did a close reading of the two translations of “Andrum: Juli” by Tomas Transtromer. After reading these two translations I found the interpretations to be quite different. Word changes affect the entire tone and meaning of the poems. The translation by Sven Borei gives a tone of mystery and vagueness. There is no title and his wording is also more concise and gives a structural flow to the poem with a steadier rhythm. The translation by May Swenson suggests a more literal interpretation because of the use of active verbs such as “swayed” and “outflung” as opposed to “swaying” and “released.” Swenson’s version also gives docks a literal role by saying they age sooner than men, while Borei suggests they age faster. Borei personifies the docks with the word faster suggesting an action rather than a time reference like sooner.One of the important words is the use of the pronoun “who” in Borei’s version. This conveys a mystery and lack of identity. “Who” allows the subject to be anyone, neither the reader nor the speaker knows the name or character of the person. The translation by May Swenson talks about a “he” which gives a gender and a personality to the character. The reader knows it is a specific person, whereas in Broei’s version a number of subjects could fit the description. Certain contrasts are made in these translations, for example the terms “ultra raped” and “slow motion” are opposites and cause different effects on the tone of the poetry. The first stanza of Borei’s version gives the reader a sense that the subject has expanded into the water, hence lines 2-3: “He rills out into thousands of twigs swaying back and forth, sits in a catapult seat released in ultra-rapid.” The first stanza of Swenson’s version gives the reader the sense that the subject is contained and suddenly flung into the ocean rather than gradually released. Lines 2-4 read, “He rills into thousands of twigs and branches, is swayed back and forth, as if in a catapult seat outflung in slow motion.” There is a difference in “rills out into” and “rills into” that causes a confliction in meaning. The former suggests a separation or expansion while the latter shows a joining of the subject with the water; rather than an expansion it is more of a union. The difference in speed is also important; ultra-rapid suggests a fast speed of the waves whereas outfung in slow motion gives a lulling sense. A theme I would like to further explore in this poem is the theme of unity of man with nature. It seems that the subject experiences a union with not only the trees but also water. Man is at peace with nature as he falls asleep “inside a blue lamp.” Along with this union however there is a significant difference because docks age differently than men, and there is a separation because of the use of the catapult which projects man forward into unity with nature.
Hey yallMy name is Richard and I'm doing my 5th year at Chalmers hoping to trick them into giving me a masters degree in Interaction Design (first three years I did computer technology). My main focus (when not reading and analysing books of course) is my thesis work that involves artificial intelligence for games with a lot of the work surrounding animations and using these to breath more life into computer controlled agents. My previous experience with poems is pretty much non-existent.TracksIt made me think of warmer times walking across the land during night, feeling the world slip away and not worrying about it, falling into tranquility with only distant lights to remind me of the new day, responsibilities and the work that comes rushing back with the morning sun. Despite thinking of a summer night, I got cold to the bone reading this poem a few times. Perhaps I owe it to the immersion it held on me, to bring me to that field, into that slice of time. The poem to me is both very solemn and sad, but at the same time I imagine id be very comfortable with a warm sweater in that field, just letting myself be.The train is significant. The first thing I did in order to convince myself that the train is important for the poem was to remove it from the equation. Without the train the night is still a night, the field is still a field but a different field, the town lights are still flickering on the horizon and unruly thoughts still wash over my mind. But the train changes the view, changes the location. This is not a field, it is a field with a resting train, a train that has covered hundreds of miles but is now suspended in place, its bulk pushing down on the track. The train casts haunting shadows across the field in the moonlight, each of the shadows accumulating into a greater whole. The train adds depth and atmosphere to the scene (if you let it). I get a greater sense of the place because I have more visual cues guiding my mind in the search for this place described to me in so few words. Poetry works for me a lot with association and adding even just a little detail makes my search that much more narrow, and finding it that much more significant.For possible topics to discuss I would like to talk about the extent of the liberties that can be taken when translating a poem. I imagine that the act is closer to an interpretation than a direct translation. Obviously translating each word individually wouldn't produce the same meaning, and much more thought and subjective reasoning is put into the work. For the poem Track(s) each line however is intact and can be compared to the Swedish counterpart. This as opposed to taking liberties with the structure of the original and finding meaning from several sentances that makes more "sense" to put together or further split. Not saying they havnt thought about this in the translation but that not limiting the translation/interpretation to the original structure might yield a "better" translation.The other topic id like to alternatively (or also) discuss is poems and the environment, scenery, space that they create. How important is a detail like the train, would it really matter if it wasn't there, would we draw very different conclusions, say all together different things about the poem?best regardsRichard
Oh my, forgot to say which poem I worked on! Spår/Track/Tracks
Hey my name is Tripp and I’m a sophomore History major at Clemson. I chose the poem “Juli” by Tomas Tranströmer. This poem was very relaxing and calming for me. The translated name “July” reminded me of summers on the lake where I live and brought back a lot of memories. I noticed three differences in the various translations that really stood out to me. The first difference that I liked was the twigs and branches. The translators all seemed to have the same interpretation that there were thousands of twigs and branches. Bly did not include twigs in his translation but he used the word “tiny” in front of branches which suggests a weaker part of the tree like a twig. My favorite translation was Fulton’s who used the phrase “thousandfold twigs.” This reminded me of a human nervous system, thousands of branches sprouting everywhere throughout the body. It made think of how we humans are all connected to each other and the earth.The second word that jumped out at me was the word “released” referring to the catapult seat or the ejector chair. Two of the translations used the word “released” but the other two renditions by Swenson and Bly used the words “outflung” and “hurtles.” These words describe to me a chaotic motion while “released” seems to be more of a peaceful description. Im unsure why Swenson and Bly choose two unsettling words as they did. The words “outflung” and “hurtles” just seem to throw off the whole vibe of the poem, which to me is a peaceful, settling piece of literature. The third was the “ultra-rapid” translation by Sven Borei. The word he used distinguished itself from the other translations because the others used antonyms to Borei’s interpretation. All other translators chose the words slow motion and I was interested in why Borei would choose the word “ultra-rapid.” If the English translation comes out to be slow motion why would Borei not use the appropriate interpretation? Then the thought occurred to me, why would the English translators change the word “ultrarapid” in the original poem by Tranströmer. The words “ultra” and “rapid” are both English words that suggest a fast pace, but I don’t know the Swedish translation. Hopefully you Swedish students can clarify.
Hello!My name is Beth Anne and I am an double major in English and Vocal Performance at Clemson University.I believe three words provide “Breathing Space July” with salient meaning and the words are: silver-gray, glittering, and creep. These words are unique and greatly expressive. Silver-gray describes the aged timber of the dock. It as if, Tranströmer suggests the dock is aged with wisdom, as gray hair insinuates. The silver-gray dock’s contrasts to the younger man (though not exactly sure how much younger) hint the sense of youth and ease often paired with the season of summer. Additionally, glittering brings a pleasant connotation. It is a word to express something remarkable, often times beautiful and dazzling. Tranströmer uses it to express the sunshine reflecting off the surface of the body of water. It provides the poem with imagery and the sense sunshine as it dances across and beneath the surface. Also, it provides a sense of how bright the sunlight is. Lastly, rather than having a hesitant and spooky expression, creep is used descriptively. In this case it provides personification as the islands ‘creep by’ the boat rather than the boat drifting by. Silver-gray, glittering and creep are three words important for the translator to use wisely. I believe if a translator were mistakenly use antonyms for the words readers would loose the true expression and meaning of the poem. All three words express a sense of ease and a mellow day. For the reader, the words create a relaxed mood and a laid-back July afternoon setting. They are important because they go beyond their literal meaning and provide description, emphasizing the imagery and events happening. A suggested theme is the cycling of time because in the poem the dock ages, the man ages (though slower than the dock) and yet the water, possibly symbolizing life, continues on.
Letter 2 (Jenny)First of all, just small comment. I am quite sure that ultra-rapid is a synonym of slow motion, at least in Swedish. I was also confused when I first heard the expression a few years back and had it explained to me.On Beth Anne's comment about symbolism in Andrum Juli. I agree with you about water being a significant symbol. The blue water and the blue lamp representing the earth, I also found very interesting, since it describes the globe as a lamp, which will encapsulate the remains of the man after his death. It also suggests that the man will eventually become part of nature. In the last line, the motion of the isles is described as 'creeping', which parallels the slow motion catapult mentioned earlier. Creeping, is also a type of slow motion, even though moths in general are often associated with a faster motion, especially when one thinks of the flapping wings. The simile in the last line, comparing isles to moths also reminds the reader of the fact that continents are constantly moving. I also agree with Laura that the unity of man with nature is a theme central to Andrum Juli. It seems like the day represents the man's life time, while night represents life coming towards an end. During the day he travels in an open boat, while he is engulfed by the blue lamp at night. The 'encapsulation' inside the lamp also acts as a coffin for his corpse.
Letter 2I enjoyed reading all of your reflections and have picked out a few sentences that I would like to comment on."Lastly, rather than having a hesitant and spooky expression, creep is used descriptively. In this case it provides personification as the islands ‘creep by’ the boat rather than the boat drifting by." - Beth AnneI personally don't like the word creeps. It has so much underlying meaning because of its use in daily life. I crept up on him and gave him a terrible fright. That painting gives me the creeps. Mist creeps, death creeps, scary bugs often creeps. Now a moth of course could creep which justifies the use and translation. But what I don't like is that "kryper", Swedish for "creeps", does not have all this baggage that is associated with creeps. Then again, considering the moth, creeps makes sense. However in terms of subtle meaning the words "kryper" and "creeps" just don't go very well together for me. "My favorite translation was Fulton’s who used the phrase “thousandfold twigs.” This reminded me of a human nervous system, thousands of branches sprouting everywhere throughout the body. It made think of how we humans are all connected to each other and the earth" - TrippWithout much to add I cant help but appreciate such an analysis."Two of the translations used the word “released” but the other two renditions by Swenson and Bly used the words “outflung” and “hurtles.” These words describe to me a chaotic motion while “released” seems to be more of a peaceful description. Im unsure why Swenson and Bly choose two unsettling words as they did." - TrippWhile I agree with your remark I find the words "outflung" and "hurtles" to have much more character and setting than just using "released". For me the former two alternatives do much more to paint a picture of the scene, but looking at the original Swedish version I imagine that the simpler "released" does more justice to the original tone. It also helps keep the emphasis on the slow-motion rather than how he is being catapulted.And to clear up the ultra-rapid situation I decided to do some digging. The word has two meanings in Swedish one of them being for slow-motion, but there is a catch. In Sweden we started using the word ultra-rapid as a more Swedish alternative of slow-motion while talking about tv and video. The misconception comes from that slow-motion refers to the speed of which the playback of video occurs in while ultra-rapid however refers to the speed at which the video is captured. In other words in order to play video in slow-motion you need to record it in ultra-rapid, very many frames per second. Ultra-rapid is on wikitionary refereed to as: "Extremely rapid; so rapid that it may include to occur in femtoseconds or in a attosecond". Clearly the poems translation is simply at fault here as I dont believe the use of ultra-rapid in reference to the recording of video was used this way in the US (correct me if I'm wrong). Also this being a poem it makes even less sense to talk about video techniques for slow-motion playback.And just in case this segway couldn't get any more derailed here is a video played back in slow-motion and recorded in ultra-rapid (1000fps). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUCRZzhbHH0Best regardsRichard
Thank you, Jenny and Richard, for looking into the Swedish translation for “ultra-rapid.”I figured that the word must have translated differently if each translator had their own rendition. I agree with Richard’s thought on the train from the poem Tracks. The train does add a deeper quality to the poem that would be easily overlooked. I read the poem with the train in my thoughts and then again, this time removing the train as Richard suggested. It is quite clear that without the train the poem loses something, I cannot put my finger on it now, but hopefully through further discussion we can find the train’s true purpose. I really liked Richard’s description of what the train adds. “Haunting shadows” and “accumulating shadows” really gives an eerie but calming feeling to the literary piece. Tracks seems to be a poem that you have to vision in your mind. It paints a beautiful picture in ones thoughts.I liked Jenny, Laura, and Beth Anne’s discussion of the “blue lamp” from Tranströmer’s “Juli.” The idea that the blue lamp refers to the Earth really is a beautiful description of the Earth we inhabit. If you guys have ever seen a movie or a television show that has shown a scene of Earth from space, it definitely has a gorgeous, dull glow about it that reminds me of a lamp. The author picked a great word in lamp to describe the Earth’s radiance.
Letter 2 Hello Group! After reading all of your letters I have been able to reanalyze all of the poems more closely. Jenny, I also thought about writing on “I Det Fria” because I found it to be mysterious and complex. Your letter made me think about the word “labyrinth” and what it means in the poem. I think this piece paints a picture of a journey divided into three sequences. You must understand all of them separately and also how they work as a whole. The first section seems to be in the present and the second and third parts act as flashbacks. I also appreciated your knowledge of both Swedish and English vocabulary. I agree that “Out in the Open” seems to be a better suited title, since there does seem to be a discussion of nature and also nothingness. As far as the words clippers and pincers, I think clippers denote a separation, as in a clipping off, whereas pincers seems smaller and more tools used for repair rather than removal. In response to Richard’s letter, I hadn’t thought about the significance of the train until I read your response. I like that you analyzed specific words and their functions in the poem. The train is interesting, seeing as it appears just at the beginning and the end but seems to have a lasting effect on the reader. It creates a haunting mood and distinguishes the plain or field and does add depth like you stated in your letter. As for your topic of discussion, the liberties that can be taken with translating seem to vary with each translator. It can be certain that diction says everything about a poem. Even the differing titles, “Track” and “Tracks” create an entirely different feeling. Track is singular, as is the sentence structure in the first stanza, “2 A.M. moonlight.” Tracks is plural, creates depth and duplicity. The first stanza of “Tracks” is written out and the sentence structure is longer which contrasts the brevity of the first stanza of “Track.” I think that the liberty different poets take with translating can drastically affect the poem. But who is to say how much liberty should be allowed?
Letter Two (Beth Anne)Thank you Jenny and Richard for defining ultra-rapid. It is interesting to have direct insight to Swedish terminology. In reference to the common expression, our discussion of the word itself, displays how some words are “lost in translation”. Once more, thank you for your research!Also, in response to Richard’s question on the importance of the train in “Track/Tracks”. I believe the stopping of the train allowed the speaker, a traveler on the train, to admire the stars. After all, the setting is “...in the middle of the plan” at two o’clock in the morning, meaning, the train’s surroundings are vast empty plains. The lack of cities and towns provide the depiction of the darkness and explains why the lights shine so brightly. So much so, even the “few stars” are so beautiful Tronsomer explains their beauty as “…when someone has gone into a dream”. In other words, explaining the stars are so beautiful that the only other way to experience the stars beauty is to dream. I understood the train’s action of stopping in the plain allowed the speaker to experience nature’s splendor. Tripp I also agree, Fulton chose the word for the first stanza in “Breathing Space July”. The peaceful description and use of “release” greatly fit the diction of the poem. Furthermore, I enjoyed your connection to the twigs to the human nervous system. A very poetic connection of how people and nature are interdependent. Kudos!Laura, I agree the “who” in Borei’s version of “Andrum: Juli” adds a sense of mystery. I personally find it more poetic than the other translations. Additionally, I agree with both you and Jenny, the theme unity of man with nature is absolutely perfect. Also, Jenny I love your addition! The symbolism of the day, night and the blue lamp are enlightening. Rather than Tronsomer explaining the man died, he simply states how he fell asleep, leaving the readers to fully comprehend the true meaning of the depth to his poem.
Letter 3 (Jenny)Hello again!After reading Richard’s letter, I would like to say that I agree that ’creep’ could be an unpleasant word. I also associate it with an uncomfortable feeing, but only in English. If I were to translate the word ‘creep’ from English to Swedish, disregarding the poems we have been reading, I would probably have chosen the word ‘kryper’, it could also mean crawl, a word with more positive connotations, probably, because ‘creep’ is so similar to ‘creepy’, which gives it ‘ghost-like’ qualities, and given that ‘kryper’ was the word used in Swedish to start with, maybe the translator thought of many different alternatives, translating words back and forth between languages, while trying to figure out which works best.In addition to Tripp’s comment on the significance of the train in Tracks, I would like to say that because ‘tracks’ or ‘spår’ in Swedish could also mean ‘traces’ or ‘footprints’, the mentioning of the train is highly important in explaining what type of ‘tracks’ are referred to. The train in this context could be interpreted as signifying life. In this case it has stopped, suggesting some sort of malfunction, especially since sickness is also mentioned. The landscape gives a rather gloomy impression. Even though there is light, it is distant, suggesting that hope is out of reach where the train has stopped, but the situation is not necessarily hopeless, since there is a possibility that the train will start moving again, towards the light in the distance.I think our discussion has been very interesting, and I’ve enjoyed reading all of your comments. From an engineering student’s perspective, this has been a valuable learning experience and broadened my views. I’ve gained a lot through reading the reflections of native speakers of English and have also been able to see what views other people have of translated Swedish texts, since Swedish is such a big part of my life that I tend to take it for granted. Regarding how the poems we have analysed are experience from a cultural perspective, I think the poems are not typically Swedish. It would be hard to identify the poems as Swedish if only the English translations were given, and since nature is a recurring and dominant theme, I think most readers, regardless of background would be able to come to some sort of universal conclusion or understanding.For Andrum Juli I have chosen a piece of music from The June Quintet’s myspace page (http://www.myspace.com/junekvintetten), called Oh friends ye who gather here (You may find it by scrolling down the playlist). The music is very calm and flowing, like a river, which I associate with the water in the poem. It also has a requiem-like feeling, which gives the impression that something is coming to an end, which links to the theme of death in the poem.
Letter 3(Jenny)Hello again!After reading Richard’s letter, I would like to say that I agree that ’creep’ could be an unpleasant word. I also associate it with an uncomfortable feeing, but only in English. If I were to translate the word ‘creep’ from English to Swedish, disregarding the poems we have been reading, I would probably have chosen the word ‘kryper’, it could also mean crawl, a word with more positive connotations, probably, because ‘creep’ is so similar to ‘creepy’, which gives it ‘ghost-like’ qualities, and given that ‘kryper’ was the word used in Swedish to start with, maybe the translator thought of many different alternatives, translating words back and forth between languages, while trying to figure out which works best.In addition to Tripp’s comment on the significance of the train in Tracks, I would like to say that because ‘tracks’ or ‘spår’ in Swedish could also mean ‘traces’ or ‘footprints’, the mentioning of the train is highly important in explaining what type of ‘tracks’ are referred to. The train in this context could be interpreted as signifying life. In this case it has stopped, suggesting some sort of malfunction, especially since sickness is also mentioned. The landscape gives a rather gloomy impression. Even though there is light, it is distant, suggesting that hope is out of reach where the train has stopped, but the situation is not necessarily hopeless, since there is a possibility that the train will start moving again, towards the light in the distance.I think our discussion has been very interesting, and I’ve enjoyed reading all of your comments. From an engineering student’s perspective, this has been a valuable learning experience and broadened my views. I’ve gained a lot through reading the reflections of native speakers of English and have also been able to see what views other people have of translated Swedish texts, since Swedish is such a big part of my life that I tend to take it for granted. Regarding how the poems we have analysed are experience from a cultural perspective, I think the poems are not typically Swedish. It would be hard to identify the poems as Swedish if only the English translations were given, and since nature is a recurring and dominant theme, I think most readers, regardless of background would be able to come to some sort of universal conclusion or understanding.For Andrum Juli I have chosen a piece of music from The June Quintet’s myspace page (http://www.myspace.com/junekvintetten), called Oh friends ye who gather here (You may find it by scrolling down the playlist). The music is very calm and flowing, like a river, which I associate with the water in the poem. It also has a requiem-like feeling, which gives the impression that something is coming to an end, which links to the theme of death in the poem.
Hi,This is Jenny again. I'm sorry about the double post. I checked several times that I had not sent my last letter before uploading it a second time, which turned out to be a mistake.
Letter 3 (Laura Good) I really enjoyed all our discussions on these poems by Tomas Transtromer. I found it helpful to analyze these poems in depth and exchange ideas. After this discussion project I have many different perspectives on the poems and have come to understand them in greater detail and gained new knowledge of direct translations from Swedish to English. It was also interesting to discuss the liberties that poets take with word choice in their translations. I appreciated the clarification of the term “ultra rapid” and ‘slow motion’ in Juli by Jenny and Richard; the video was helpful! We also had an interesting discussion on the symbolism in Juli. Jenny and Beth Anne talked about the blue lamp perhaps representing Earth, which added to the theme of man’s unity with nature. I thought Jenny’s comment about the blue lamp encompassing his corpse was very insightful, as I had not thought of death having a role in the poem before. Also Jenny’s clarification that ‘spar’ could mean footprints or traces and therefore the train gives specification to what kind of ‘tracks.’ I also liked your interpretation of the train signifying life, and how the malfunction of the train shows some sort of halting in the events of one’s life allowing for contemplation. Everyone in this group has given very strong and well thought out analyses and it aided an excellent discussion.This poetry exchange was a something I have never experienced before. Communicating about poetry internationally not only brought linguistic diversity, but the extent to which students ad studied poetry was also varied and resulted in a broad range of interpretations. Some students knew literal translations of words; this helped with analyzing why certain poets chose to translate the words differently than the literal translation. As an English major I was very intrigued by the idea of collaborating with engineering students. All of you provided analytic responses that provided new depth to my interpretations and I am glad everyone took this project seriously and really tried to dissect the poems. We were able to come up with themes, symbols, and clarifications as we went along. I was also very happy with the way our group feed off each other’s ideas and gave feedback by addressing everyone in the group; this made the discussion helpful and cooperative as we worked together to come up with different ideas. At the end of this project I truly value the discussions we have had and the ability we all had to analyze poems and talk about them from across the world. The picture I attached was found in Google images and it displays a windmill shining in the moonlight. The reason I chose this image is because of the haunting feeling it gives off. Although it does not display a train, what stuck out in my mind after reading this poem was the overwhelming loneliness of the night and this image made me feel the same way. It is a deserted field with nothing in sight but the moon.
Really enjoyed this experience and every-one's take on the poems and the following discussion. Coming into this with no real prior experience of analysing poetry (or reading it for that matter) it is wonderful to see that we as a group had a discussion greater than the sum of its parts. Together we represent a wide viewing angle of this medium and between us ideas grew and prospered as they were tunnelled through each of our minds.Taking a step back we looked at the translation of the poems, looking at individual words and entire sentences to see what certain choices and differences between the translations meant for the result. We also took a step closer and looked beyond the words for symbolism, reading between the lines we found further meaning to interpret. Taking more of a onlookers view of the discussion for Breathing space July it was really interesting just to learn and go back to the poem to re-experience it under new light. Jenny's insight about the journey of the poem being life and death really stood out to me, also the link between the twigs and our nervous system as with the nature and humanity that Tripp put so nicely into text. Individual objects, words and phrases in the poems also were pushed under the light, looking at their significance, what would happen without them, and sometimes what exchanging them all together would mean. My mind here naturally falls to the poem Tracks and the significance of the train as an object in the poem. I really like Laura's comment about how the Train is so aptly placed at the start and the end of the poem, further establishing its presence in the poem as more than just a chosen set-piece. Beth Anne found further meaning to the train in the poem by turning the attention to what the stop enables. Taking the time and allowing yourself to halt movement, no progress, no getting closer to your goal, full focus on the moment and its presence. Finally also Jenny's comment about how the train and the title track(s) is so closely related is a great analysis, two words interlinked. We could imagine that the poem might have been named after thinking about the train in the poem, or the train appearing in the poem because of the name.On the subject of analysing poems I find that having such a discussion as this, and going back to the poem is a second new experience (compared to reading it for the first time). This time around there is all that meaning pushing out between the words washing over you that previously lay latent, in wait, hiding. It is much more than before, as if the words are bolder, the colour more pungent and the white space in-between more bright. I wanted to find some music that would invoke that solitude and calmness from the poem tracks. Something that would let me dream away into that dark night, let me feel the wind breeze in the open field, smell the long forgotten rain and the wild growth of the field. For me music has so many facets, and to pick a track this way came down more to crossing alternatives off as I found certain aspects just not fitting with the feeling I wanted to feel. In the end I settled for the piano, in moll, with Chopin.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ef-4Bv5Ng0wPicking music has drawn out on the time (casts an eye one the deadline taking of into the distance) so went for a safer pick. The solitude and solemn tones vibrating from the innards of the piano take me with them into the night. The beauty of the composition only matched by the stars outshining each other in competition over my attention. Thanks everyone for a lovely discussion, it has been a great learning experience for me.Take careRichard
This experience has really been a very fun and rewarding time. This assignment really has been an eye opener in many ways. I expected the poems to be very difficult to break down and find significant lines. But with so many different viewpoints from my fellow classmates and the Swedish students, it was very easy to find things that stood out. I was very excited to work with Swedish students, to see their thoughts and ideas. I don’t know what I was expecting Jenny and Richards thoughts to be on the poems, but they surprised me when I agreed on everything they said. I guess I thought that a Swedish perspective would be different form an American one. I loved the different viewpoints and ideas that were brought to the table. This form of discussion based poetry reading to me is a lot more rewarding that it would if I was to read and break it down myself. Jenny and Richard were also able to help us translate the word “ultra-rapid” which I thought was extremely helpful. I would have never of thought that the word would mean the opposite in Swedish as it does in English. During my reading of the poem this confused me, but with the Swedish students help it was much clearer. Their translations also gave us Jenny’s idea when she said that ‘tracks’ or ‘spår’ in Swedish could also mean ‘traces’ or ‘footprints.’ The idea of a train having footprints brings a whole ne perspective into play. “Footprints” give the train life. I imagined the train being alive and it reminded me of an animal. The way the train puffs it smoke, it’s like its breathing. The trains whistle is like an animal’s roar and it needs to consume fuel to stay active. Giving the train life gives the poem “Tracks” a whole new angle.The photo I found on google is a look at the branches of trees. My favorite line from all of the poems was the one in “Juli” by Tranströmer. “He rills out in thousandfold twigs, sways to and fro.” Again this is my favorite line because the twigs to me represent the nervous system of the human anatomy. The intertwining branches that extend in every direction reminded me of how everyone is connected. I feel that this picture is a great image for this cross collaboration project as well. The fact that the USA and Sweden are miles apart, yet we were still able to communicate and discuss our ideas is a thing of beauty.Really enjoyed this experience guys. Good luck to you Richard and Jenny.
Letter 3 (Beth Anne)Hey y’all!The Poetry Project has been a positive and insightful experience. I have thoroughly enjoyed learning the different interpretations of particular words, especially those more likely to be lost in translation. Jenny and Richard have both given different meanings to words such as ‘ultra-rapid’ and ‘creep’. Their explanations of the Swedish to English translations elucidated powerful meaning and provided deeper levels of significance. Jenny, your suggestion for the word ‘crawl’ rather than creep is marvelous! Creep gives the impression of someone stalking slowly upon you, however crawl does not. Crawl refers back to early childhood, to a baby’s first step before walking. If a translator were to use ‘crawl’ it would juxtaposition the man’s death and old age, to a newborn’s development. The juxtaposition almost heightens Laura’s themes of unity with nature; by suggesting the unity comes not only the surrounding earth but also, from death and birth. Furthermore, it would welcome a lighter mood, which is more appropriate considering the context surrounding it is tranquil. Trip, your visual imagery of the earth from space resembling the blue lamp and even more so, your imagery of the nervous system in the branches from “Breathing Space July” was fabulous. In fact, it inspired the imagery I have selected in response to the project. Referring to the branches, I chose a picture from Google images of trees interlaced branches to reflect the “…thousands of twigs swaying back and forth”. The image can be seen at http://elvenearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/neil1877.jpg.The photo’s setting is peaceful and has the sun dancing in the background. I can visualize the man from the poem lying among the flower petals as he “rills” with the branches and further becomes one with nature. The project was a major success and additionally, an enjoyable process. Discussion is my favorite process of understanding. It was great to engage in the unique experience of writing to Swedish students and especially understanding the differences within the text. I thought we did a wonderful job at conveying the underlying and hidden meanings of the poem. In the end, we chose music and pictures to further encompass the meanings to the poems. Providing more artistic interpretations among the poems. I must say I have enjoyed seeing those as well. Richard, Chopin is one of my favorite composers! I learned a new band from Jenny and received a new insight from Laura’s picture. A true measure of education is experience and I believe this has been a spectacular experience.-Beth Anne
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