Ulijana Wolf’s translator Sopie Seita considers calling Wolf a “multilingual poet”, living in the cracks between German and English. She lives in Brooklyn and Berlin by turns. Composer David Claman often spends as much as half his year in Delhi,while mostly in Queens. Claman’s music does not pretend to know anything about classical Indian music. It suggests how jazzed he gets during his times in India. And he sets the poetry of his Indian father-in-law.
Sophie Seita imagines “a radical form of translation that knows no other way but to cross over into poetry. Claman’s love and sometime-ambivalence about India knows no other way but to cross into music.
From the publisher’s WEBSITE:
This bi-floral or even tri-floral book of poems is for falselandy neighbouring nearspeakers who prefer to hold ear to phoneme to wit. Arranged according to the pleasures of a collaborative conversation between co-translating poets, sinuous between the structured palate and the muscular tongue, Subsisters coheres by means of a joyous principle of augmentation. Wolf and Seita have rendered authority moot; Value here is chosen conviviality. Lightness, charm and play clarify the discovery that all language is polylingual, all worth in shared joy only.
A little sample:
ich ging ins tingeltangel, lengewitch angeln. an der garde-robe bekam jede eine zweitsprache mit identischen klamotten, leicht gemoppeltes doppel.
Sophe Seite’s translation–
Dancing Double Speech
i went to the tingel-tangel to angle lengevitch. in the cloakroam every woman received a twin language with identical clothes, a dablling double.
Can we think of David Claman as a composer counterpart to the multilingual poet?
Bowers Fader do Claman’s Ganga Yumana sets a poem by his father-in-law.
In the Bridge Records CD notes on gone for foreign I drew connections between Claman’s musical evocations of his experiences in Inda with Boulez’ Marteau, the virtual exoticism of Poe, Marcel Schwob, and the Symbolistes. The multilingual poetry of Uljana Wolf adds another layer to these associations. Consider this: even while the post-war order unravels we are seeing cultures sing, dance,and pun with each other in fascinating ways.
Uljana Wolf adds another dimension–
Zweite Rede Mit Koppelzwilling
“….wenn einem die milz stieg in des andern übervolles kummersieb—ob sie einander übersetzten, am zackenkranz des dämmerns ihre fälle wetzten?…..”
Second Speech, With a Conjoined Twin
“…when the spleen of one flowed over into the other’s overfull sorrow-sieve—did they translate each other, tweaking their cases with the crown-pronged Dawn?….”
This reminds me of the cigarettes in Paul Simon’s “America”.
so we bought a pack of cigarettes and Mrs. Wagner’s pies
and we walked off to look for America
Toss me a cigarette. I think there’s one in my raincoat.
We smoked the last one an hour ago.
In poetic rock-paper-scissors the humors and, ultimately, biochemistry can stop the conversation. We enter the world of EO Wilson.
Every human has the same biochemistry, but we discuss it differently. In the West we have the humors; in the India there is Kundalini. Both are heuristic.
American Virtual Exoticism
Steve Mackey’s Indiginous Instruments
Sam Nichols Refuge ?
lots of Terry Riley