Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

The blind leading the deaf

Sonnet - Bonden Agonistes
My verse is incomplete, quite binary,
Mere white and black. The white a partial draft,
The black a cave of rude uncertainty.
Wherein I’ll fumble with a half-learned craft.
And while patrolling this white/black frontier
I’ll push against this gate that might allow
A spill of words and notes that might cohere
Into a theme I might perhaps avow.
Such doubts! But then, why not? Ahead I hope
For accidents. A shift within the store
Of last year’s pale ideas, a novel trope,
A signal born of rhythmic semaphore.

It’s over. Black’s now white. An impulse dies,
Dead too the only worthwhile prize - surprise!

THE LOVE PROBLEM Chs 1 -3 16,975 words. Ch 4 (unfinished) 3146 words. Gorgon Times contains no overt bonking, the source of much bad writing by many who should know better. With TLP it’s inescapable so what’s the answer? Concentrate on facts and the unexpected – after all the latter enhances the real thing. Writing GT I fell in love with Clare (I mean that) and now I’m falling in love with Jana. And yes I frequently admit to being a cad.

REVELATION I had three goes at The Brothers Karamazov (once reaching page 150) and failed each time. This time I’ve reached page 103 and I’m wondering why I previously struggled. It’s great! But there’s a good reason. Earlier the translator was Constance Garnett; this time I’m reading the 1993 David McDuff version. One dull and obscure, one suffused with light.

5 comments:

Plutarch said...

You wait. The brothers will surprise you. it might deserve a sonnet even. What I find about the Constance Garnet translation is that that, in all its apparent crudeness, it seems to capture something of the wildness and turmoil of D's more volatile characters.

marja-leena said...

I enjoyed the poem and its humour, and about accidents... which we artists do love to happen in our work, in a fortuitous way of course.

I thought I recognized the name David McDuff. Yes, I know it from his blog on translations of Nordic literature, including Finnish http://nordicvoices.blogspot.com/

Sir Hugh said...

The revised version is more transparent, and much less worrying without the "medical" label. The "novel trope" is a great concept and a resounding phrase, and of course it would be the antidote to the dreaded cliche (sorry, I cant devote an hour or so to finding out how to insert an acute accent in html).

Rouchswalwe said...

I'd hardly call it fumbling ... the first time I've laughed in quite awhile, and I thank you from the heart, BB! The love thing I'll have to think on.

Barrett Bonden said...

Plutarch: Oh, they're already surprising me (now at page 203), especially the crazy Dad. I take your point about Constance Garnett but I'd given her three tries, I dont think I have the stamina to try her again.

M-L: MCDuff appears to translate from any language. Can be a bit irritating. In TBK there's an isolated incident of using "dough" (ie, cash) which really isn't necessary. The sonnet is, I fear, somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

Sir Hugh: Removing the parentheses was a step toward greater coherence. Then I saw the possibilities of repetition and the sonnet slid down the slope from ersatz verse to prime-cut doggerel. Accents: keep the icon for Character Map in the top right-hand corner of your desktop, that way it's always accessible. Works in HTML.

RW (zS): If it made you laugh that's all I ask. The aim was to write a sonnet that didn't take my oeuvre too seriously - not seriously at all, in fact. As to b....ing (should I have used that dubious word?) I have raised Jana to the heights via its application, and now (poor thing) I'm about to chop her off at the knees using the same method.