走近英诗Up Close with Poetry

作者:中诗翻译 | 来源:中诗网 | 2020-05-17 | 阅读:


晚枫 王琳


      This column was initially to be launched last June, right after we returned from our journey of poetry in UK. But one thing led to another, as matters of “more urgency” kept popping up and pushed our column to the back burner, then into oblivion when the pandemic of COVID-19 broke out and got hold of everyone’s attention and energy.  Needless to say,  we were also hijacked by the ever-gloomier news and lost our focus.

      So, as we were getting used to social distancing and being cooped up, it became a timely interjection when William Wang, Chief Editor of the Foreign Language Section of the China Poetry Forum (CPF), came back to remind us of the launching of the column.


      In the foreign language section of CPF, the traditional format has focused on translation of poems, Chinese to English and vice versa, often completed with vocal rendition. We felt that most of famous English poems, as well as some popular classical Chinese poems, have been translated many times, of which a considerable number was done by renowned translators. The current generation of translators, with the aid of online resources, are also producing fantastic translation works. So, it is the least of our wishes to repeat what has been done, and done well, Both of us have given seminars and classes on English poetry, and our experience taught us the life stories are as inspiring as the lines themselves, sometimes even more so. It is with these considerations that we decided to approach English poetry from a new angle. We want to go further than the dissection of words and lines, meters and stanzas; we would like, together with our readers, to experience poetry from its birth place, the historical background, the storms the poets weathered, and how it transpired and affected our ideas of how vicissitudes are epitomized in words.


      During our journey of poetry, we learned with all our senses the richness of life from visiting the poets' birthplaces, museums or manuscripts displayed at various venues: the slanting floor of Shakespeare’s birthplace, the windows where Keats had looked at the young lady he was ardently in love but could not marry, the “vales and hills” one could have perceived from Wordsworth’s living room window, and the downs Tennyson walked and gave him the unique cadence for his lines…. We wish to bring that richness to our column, through prose and essays on poetry, journals of our poetry travel, cross talks on poets and poems, translation and recitation of well-known poems, and calligraphic transcriptions. With these components, we hope to add colorful dimensions to the enjoyment of English poetry.


      We are grateful to William Wang’s trust and support, who has done tremendous amount of work pro bona for the dissemination of Chinese poetry, specifically the translation of Chinese poems to foreign languages and the converse; his devotion and dedication to the growth and proliferation of poetry sets a great example for us in the endeavor of the same pursuit, and the pleasant collaboration with him in the past has given us more motivation for this new column.



Up Close with Poetry
Arriving UK (Issue No. 1)

       Today marks the beginning of our dream journey--a journey of poetry. Having read and translated many English poems,  we are here, finally; we want to see the United Kingdom, with our mind and body devoted to the full appreciation of English poetry, the birthplace of the poems and poets, the evolvements of lines and lives, and the vicissitudes embedded.


      England, being the most important locale for literature of English language, has never shown more allure on this beautiful, sunny day of May. Flowers and fresh leaves in various shades of green dot along the railway on our ride from Gatwick Airport to Victoria Station, London. Many townhouses nestle behind trees and shrubs, some distant and some close to the tracks. On the first look, most of them are in similar style, built with dark brown bricks and small white casements (Were they built before the abolishment of window tax? one wonders.)  But a closer look reveals that the units are rather compact; reminiscent of a scene from one of our favorite movies, The Portrait of a Lady, where the heroine Isabell lived,  so small was the room that a bed and a dresser took the entire space, and the posts almost touched the ceiling. Tiny space as such in England, we reckon, must have given good reasons to the British writers to be creative, for if one felt compressed by his space, he must have more steam to burst into powerful lines.


      The train conductor was a middle-aged man of medium height, profusely eloquent before and during the 30-minute ride, either during the interpersonal conversations when he was checking the tickets, or on the PA with the impossible-to-remember details of all the schedule changes and exceptions. However, the way he speaks invokes such a familiarity that if we were to close our eyes, we would be thrust back to our college years when the only means to listening spoken English was the tape run on a blue, heavy, suitcase-sized box. Ah, how Londoners sound alike for decades, especially when they put on a public voice.


      We alighted at Euston subway station. To our surprise, it took us three long rides on the escalators that connect four levels to reach the ground exit. Someone had done a lot of digging years ago when they built this station. It was around 1 pm and the small square outside the station was packed with office workers, it seemed, who were having either lunch or cigarette breaks. Most of them had this serious and determined look on their faces that were only visible if one had not seen the sun for an extended period of time. On our way to the hotel—a walk of less than 10 minutes, in the heart of this bustling city, we passed two small gardens and both were filled with men and women sitting on the turf enjoying the sun. We both felt lucky to have arrived in such a great weather and we wish it would continue.


(May 15, 2019)


Composed upon Westminster Bridge
By William Wordsworth

Earth has not any thing to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

威廉·华兹华斯 作
晚枫 译



  晚枫(Qun Grace Liu),原名刘群,原北京语言学院(现北京语言大学)英语教师,爱好诗歌创作与翻译。在《世界诗人》、《诗殿堂》、《诗历》、《大风诗歌》、《中国当代诗歌导读(2010卷)》等刊物发表多篇创作和翻译作品。另出版有英译新编历史剧《黄叶红楼》以及合编翻译教材《汉英笔译全译实践教程》。
  Qun Grace Liu (aka Grace Liu,screen name Rhapsodia) was an English teacher in Beijing Language Institute (currently Beijing Language and Culture University). She loves poetry and poetry translation. Some of her original poetry writings and poetry translation works were published in The World Poets Quarterly, Poetry Hall, Poetry Calendar, Gale, and An Introduction of Contemporary Chinese Poetry (2010 volume). She also published a Chinese-English translation of a new historic drama Yellow Leaves, Red Mansion and a co-authored textbook A Coursebook of Complete Chinese-English Translation.
  王琳, 在北京长大, 中学毕业后移民美国, 麻省州立大学经济学士。 曾在加拿大政府部门担任翻译,其后在深圳一所私立学校任英语老师12年。
  WANG Lin, grew up in Beijing and immigrated to the United States after completing high school. She received a BA in Economics from University of Massachusetts in Amherst and later worked as an interpreter for Canadian government, and taught English for 12 years at a private school in Shenzhen, China.


顾问组:何功杰教授、海外逸士、李正栓教授、张智中教授、黑马(毕冰宾)、柏敬泽教授、吴伟雄教授、 赵宜忠、黄焰结教授、杨中仁教授、张琼副教授、
责任编辑: 山野

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