Turning Tides: Modern Dutch & Flemish Verse in English Versions by Irish Poets

Peter Van De Kamp, Author, Peter Van de Kamp, Editor, Frank Van Meurs, Editor Story Line Press $17.95 (424p) ISBN 978-0-934257-70-1
The result of a seminar on translation theory taught by van de Kamp at Leiden University, this odd but compelling (and massive) collection transforms Dutch poems into English written with a heavy brogue. The editor, who is Dutch but has taught in Ireland since 1981, selected Dutch and Flemish poetry of the last 150 years, translated it literally, then passed it on to his Irish contributors-Seamus Heaney, Medbh McGuckian and 20 others-who refashioned the lines into what van de Kamp calls ``versions'' rather than translations, ``recreating it in the cultural context of the target language.'' From the pre-World War I era comes the exuberant ``Ode to Singer,'' in which Paul Van Ostajien chants, ``Everyone has a right to a sewingmachine.'' Leonard Nolens' ``Tributary,'' translated by Michael O'Loughlin, pays homage to a lover-``a trenchant weight I must carry all day,...a breathing stone.'' Some poems appear in several versions; Victor Vroomkoning's ``Hereniging'' is rendered by three different Irish writers as ``Returning,'' ``Together,'' and ``Together Again.'' (The display provides an interesting perspective on the subjective nature of translation.) The book offers much work that is startling, though readers may find themselves partial to the marvelous touch of O'Loughlin and Eamon Grennan. Originals and English versions run on facing pages. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 05/30/1994
Release date: 06/01/1994
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