lyrikline blog

Statement on translating poetry: Gabriele Leupold

Posted in translator / Übersetzer by Heiko Strunk on 17. March 2011

Lyrik ist unübersetzbar? Ganz im Gegenteil. Anders als Prosa kann ich ein Gedicht mit mir herumtragen, es von allen Seiten betrachten, immer wieder lesen – kann sein Schriftbild, seine äußere Form memorieren, seine Laute, seinen Klang prüfen, Harmonien und Dissonanzen, Rhythmen und Pausen, Tempo und Tempovariationen bestimmen, seine Melodien, seine Vielstimmigkeit, seinen Ton aufnehmen.

Ein Gedicht ist kompakt, konzentriert. Ich trage es mit mir herum, durch die Stadt, durch jedes Gelände. Schritt für Schritt lebe ich mich ein, dringe vor in alle Verästelungen, mache es mir zu Eigen – bis er mich anspringt, dieser „Tonsatz im Wartestand“ (Durs Grünbein).

Er verlangt nach Ausführung, Aufführung. Ein Moment größter Wachheit, ich bin polyphon gefordert. Wie der Dirigent eines Orchesters sichte ich meine Instrumente, die einer anderen Sprache, um die richtigen Worte, die gebotene Farbe zu finden. Wie ein Pianist probiere und höre ich, akzentuiere und übe, baue nach und vergleiche, improvisiere und verwerfe, gehe auf Abstand und nähere mich wieder an. Im Gleichzeitigen und im Hin und Her zwischen dem fremden Gedicht und der Arbeit am eigenen entsteht meine Antwort, meine Interpretation – eine von vielen möglichen.

Gabriele Leupold

Gabriele Leupold übersetzt aus dem Russischen ins Deutsche

Poetry is untranslatable? Quite the opposite. Unlike prose, I can carry a poem with me, study it from all sides, read it over and over again – I can memorise the way the words look, its outer form, analyse its noises and its sound, identify harmony and dissonance, rhythms and pauses, pace and changes in tempo, absorb its melody, polyphony, and tone.

A poem is compact, concentrated. I carry it around with me, through town, everywhere that I go. Step by step I settle myself in, expand into all its ramifications, adopt it as my own – until it reveals itself, this “texture on stand by” (Durs Grünbein).

This texture asks to be executed, performed. A moment of utmost alertness, a polyphonic challenge. Like the conductor of an orchestra I sift through my instruments, that of another language, to find suitable words, the necessary tone. Like a pianist I try and listen, I accent and practise, I replicate and compare, I improvise and dismiss, I keep my distance and then draw near again. In simultaneity and in the seesaw between the alien poem and my own work I develop my answer, my interpretation – one of many possibilities.

Gabriele Leupold

Gabriele Leupold translates from Russian into German

[translation: Juliane Otto and Marisa Pettit]

2 Responses

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  1. Ana Hudson said, on 17. March 2011 at 19:41

    Dear Gabriele, Juliane and Marise

    Here’s your poem:

    Poetry is untranslatable?

    Quite the opposite. Unlike prose,
    I can carry a poem with me, study it
    from all sides, read it over
    and over again – I can memorise the way
    words look, its outer form, analyse
    noises and sound, identify
    harmony and dissonance, rhythms,
    pauses, pace and changes
    in tempo, absorb its melody,
    polyphony, and tone.
    A poem is compact,
    concentrated. I carry it around
    with me, through town, everywhere
    I go. Step by step I settle myself in it, expand
    into all its ramifications, adopt it
    as my own – until
    it reveals itself, this “texture on stand by”*
    This texture asking
    to be executed, performed. A moment
    of utmost alertness, a polyphonic
    challenge. Like the conductor
    of an orchestra I sift through my instruments,
    those of another language, finding
    suitable words, the necessary tone.
    Like a pianist I try and listen,
    I accent and practise, I replicate
    and compare, I improvise and dismiss,
    I keep my distance and then
    draw near again. In simultaneity
    and in the seesaw between the alien poem
    and my own I develop
    my answer, my interpretation – one
    of many possibilities.

    * (Durs Grünbein).

    Gabriele Leupold
    Gabriele Leupold translates from Russian into German
    [translation: Juliane Otto and Marisa Pettit]

  2. Frank Steineck said, on 4. May 2011 at 10:51

    thus poetry reflects on the evolution of language itself. Speech had the poetic implanted in its very purpose. The goal of language development was to praise the making from cause since it can’t be anything other than, without further cause, making (Greek) “poiein” from cause or beauty; ugly as well to enable appreciation of the inevitable dichotomy.

    MAGIC OF LOVE
    by Frank Steineck

    Have I loved life?
    Well seated maybe
    Like a boy sees
    From his gondola
    Suspended on chains
    On the marry go round
    A funfair for clowns


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