Seven roses later ... each rose opens like an ideogram, like a gate
July 13, 2014 6:01 PM   Subscribe

In an essay reflecting on translation, Yoko Tawada reads the poems of Paul Celan as if he had written in Japanese. The essay's translator, Susan Bernofsky, offers context, and in an earlier piece, Rivka Galchen considers "Yoko Tawada's Magnificent Strangeness." More conventional introductions to Celan are available via the Poetry Foundation page on Celan, 14 poems from Breathturn, and a video of Celan reading "Allerseelen" (English sub.; alt. trans.). Tawada's own poetry includes "The Flight of the Moon" (video in Japanese). posted by Monsieur Caution (1 comment total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
That's an interesting suite of characters, and it make me curious about their origins in Chinese:

threshold 閾 - Ch yù - radical + phonetic (huò)
to hear 聞 - Ch wén - radical èr ear + phonetic mén
to open 開 - Ch kāi - hands opening a door
gap 間 - Ch jiàn - sunlight through a door
flash 閃 - Ch shǎn - originally escape = man running through a door
dark 闇 - Ch àn - originally close, shut - radical + phonetic yīn

(That is, for 聞 'hear', 門 is not a radical at all-- it's a phonetic.)
posted by zompist at 9:45 PM on July 13, 2014 [3 favorites]

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