Vol. 2 No. 1 Jun 2018

The Poetics of Process Repeated in the Sky
Author:Zewei Jiang    Time:2019-07-10    Click:

In view of the material and textual changes of Dickinson’s poetry in its acceptance history of more than one hundred years, the editors and translators attempted to retain the originality of Dickinson’s poetic style in various ways, which brought visual impact to the book and highlighted a strong readers’ consciousness. North American scholars found their common voice in the writer’s poetical meanings dwelling in possibility, which helped bring many more possibilities for a further display of the poetics of process reflected in her poetry in a Chinese context. They together aimed at reproducing its poetic original forms and spirit as well as the impact of its understanding. The originality of the book is first reflected in the choice of poetry. The editors and translators followed the principle of “Choosing not Choosing” or “a variorum poetics” (as Sharon Cameron puts it) to give the translators ultimate priorities from the outset. The selected translation of the “Envelope Poems” is a distinctive feature of this book. In translation, the translators went beyond the limitations of individual translation and strove to preserve the originality of the poetry through their combined efforts. The translation of poetry by poets is another feature of this book. Thirdly, guided by “Choosing not Choosing,” this book is filled with references and devoid of any fixed interpretations; it opens the poetic possibilities and richness of Dickinson’s poems while revealing the uncertainty of poetic meaning, the untranslatability and uniqueness of their style. The mobility in textuality and uncertainty in meanings of the poetry are also major concerns in this book. Finally, like the poet, the translators “hold our Senses—on—” “with scrupulous exactness” as editors are meticulously doing “life’s little duties.” This is also a pioneering act.

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