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The Wednesday Corner With Aprilia Zank

I love discovering new interesting voices. This week, I am introducing Aprilia Zank to the plum tree. Aprilia is a wonderful poet in her own right who also speaks with an authoritative voice on the nature and structure of poetry. The photos (except the one of T.S. Eliot) are Aprilia’s own~ sent in to illustrate the reflective/translational character of her piece. Thank you Aprilia for your great contribution to the plum tree.

Poetry – The Double Translation

By Aprilia Zank

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Photos by Aprilia Zank

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By Aprilia Zank

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By Aprilia Zank

That poetry cannot have a universally valid definition is commonplace; to try and move one step nearer to it, worthwhile. My yearlong academic research (PhD included) having focussed on aspects of poetry reception and limits of translatability, it is no wonder that, before long, I came to look upon poetry as a form of double translation. In a poem, what starts as a primary amalgam of feelings, sensations and urges, is being grasped, structured, organised and, ultimately, ‘translated’ into words and images – an end product from the poet’s perspective. For readers, though, this end product is a beginning, a platform for interpretation. They must undergo the opposite process: from the printed words to the mental images, to the depths of whatever urged the poet to write that special poem in that special way. To what extent the readers can be successful in their endeavour to ‘translate’ (interpret) it widely depends on the degree to which the primary amalgam, the raw material at the origin of the poetic work, has been structured and organised by its author into the end product. The more transparent the structuring of the raw material is, the less demanding the reader’s task will be, due to the fact that the author’s intention is easier to grasp. Where the author is very parsimonious when putting flesh to the bones of his work, the challenge for readers is a huge one. But it is precisely the potential of every piece of literature to be read in more than one way that makes this work vital and durable. This richness of potential interpretations is both synchronic and diachronic. Since its existence, literature of any kind – poetry included – has been interpreted according to the spirit, the mentality and the sensitivity of each age. As an individual receptor of a poetic message, the reader undertakes the creative work of ‘translating’ the author’s poetic images and metaphors into his own semantic, aesthetic, spiritual and affective categories. Ideally, the input and the output should be the same, in reality, there may be as many interpretations as readers; the statement holds true that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, understanding in the mind of the reader. And often enough, even though we have the feeling of not quite grasping it, we still enjoy a poem for its originality, its musicality, or, simply, its ineffable quality.Thomas_Stearns_Eliot_by_Lady_Ottoline_Morrell_(1934)

For me, poetry is involvement, in aesthetic terms, with life in all shades, from the beauteous to the sordid, from the exuberant to the unspeakable. The “I” of my poems is not necessarily autobiographical, but rather an incentive for the reader towards introspection of his/her own self. I’m an ardent lover of T. S. Eliot’s poetry and a ‘fierce’ supporter of his claim that poetry is not “a turning loose of emotion”; that is why I greatly appreciate poems in which I can sense the huge work behind the lines. As a reader and editor, this is one of my main criteria for poetry selection – as a poet, the first requirement on myself.

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About Dr Niamh

When I was a little girl (a very, very long time ago), I used to love learning new, really big words like ‘discombobulate’. As I grew, my love of words grew too, until I loved them so much, I could not stop writing them down. One day, as I was scribbling a particular word, a very peculiar thing happened. The word shouted at me, “Stop! Don’t put me there!” As you can imagine, I was shocked and nearly fell off my chair. When I recovered somewhat, I said to the word, “Could you stop shouting, please? I am not used to it.” Can you guess what happened next? No! I thought not. The word said, “I might be small, but I will misbehave if you do not use me properly. I will not tell the story you would like me to tell. I will say something entirely different!” I dropped my pen. I hoped that by dropping my pen, the word would stop talking. Alas! It did not. It carried on chitterchobbling, even after the ink had dried. I was in a pickle. I could not allow my words to run away with my story, now could I? I don’t know about you, but when this sort of thing happens, there is only one thing left to do if you prefer not to spend your time arguing. “Very well,” said I. “I will do as you ask if you will just be quiet and allow me to concentrate.” Since that day, I have been paying special attention to every word I invite into my stories. After all, a story should say exactly what it means to say and not be led astray. With love from Dr. Niamh, Ph.D in Learning Through The Imagination and Founder of Dr Niamh Children's Books. www.drniamh.co.uk

22 comments on “The Wednesday Corner With Aprilia Zank

  1. Jamie Dedes
    September 25, 2013

    Well considered. There are so many layers to the act of poetry, which is one of its gifts to us, and it is a place where writer and reader meet with open minds and heart. One thing that I have learned from “blogging” my poems (where there is instant feedback) – as opposed to traditional publishing – is that once set free in the world, they no longer belong to the writer. As you say, Aprilia, the reader does undertake “the creative work of ‘translating’ the author’s poetic images and metaphors into his own semantic, aesthetic, spiritual and affective categories.” The reader then become the owner of a poem that is somewhat different from the one that leapt from the writer’s spirit.

    Enjoyed much – and the artwork is stunning – Thank you, Niahm and Aprilia.

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      September 25, 2013

      Thank you Jamie. Love your comment. Thank you for dropping by.

      Like

    • Aprilia Zank
      September 25, 2013

      Thank you so much, Jamie, for your kind comments!
      And, yes, I fully agree with you that ‘once set free in the world, they (the poems) no longer belong to the writer’.

      Like

  2. jackspratt823
    September 25, 2013

    Think of a Venn diagram. The poem is the shaded bit in the middle, where the two circles ( poet and reader) overlap. I would suggest that a good poem very nearly has a life of its own- I don’t like to see the hard work- that should be covered up- even the poet should be able to slip out of the door once the poem is completed.

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      September 25, 2013

      Great comment, Jack Spratt!

      Like

      • Aprilia Zank
        September 25, 2013

        Great comparison, Jack!
        When I say ‘the hard work’, I actually mean the process of refining the poetical ‘raw’ material, the endeavour to turn the trivial daily language into an intricate literary pattern.

        Like

  3. Patricia Tilton
    September 25, 2013

    I enjoyed reading Aprilia Zank’s comments as I know so little about the nature and structure of poetry. And, I enjoyed Jack’s comment. I just know what touches my soul.

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      September 25, 2013

      Yes! We don’t analyse poetry Patricia. We just know if it makes us feel something.

      Like

    • Aprilia Zank
      September 25, 2013

      Thank you, Patricia!
      This is so true, we can theorise everything, but what really matters is what touches one’s soul.

      Like

  4. drpendyala2005
    September 25, 2013

    Poetry is an art
    Poetry is an emotion
    Poetry is semantics
    Poetry is aesthetics
    Poetry is not prose
    Poetry is music to the ears
    Poetry is connotations
    And lastly Poetry is photography of images…!!

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      September 25, 2013

      Lovely Pendyala.

      Like

    • Aprilia Zank
      September 25, 2013

      Well said, Dr .Pendyala, poetry has so many facets and, often enough, it is an echo of music, painting, or other forms of art.

      Like

  5. drpendyala2005
    September 25, 2013

    Thank you dear Niamh…

    Like

  6. very intriguing reading aprilia’s perspective – to me, poetry, far too frequently, is overly analyzed – overly scrutinized – baring the bones and leaving the nourishing meat cast aside – the meat of emotion – of passion – feeling –
    i particularly like the idea of the venn diagram in terms of poetry and its relationship with its reader[s] –

    Like

  7. Aprilia Zank
    September 25, 2013

    True, indeed, Jenean, but one just can’t help it, the inquisitive mind is keen to understand and to define…

    Like

  8. Uncle Tree
    September 25, 2013

    Thank you for sharing your doctoral insights, Aprilia! 🙂 Great to have you sharing with us here. I always enjoy meeting people from all around our little blue globe. I’m so happy you speak English. Your words convey your intent, and I believe I understand what you are saying.

    “Say what you mean, and mean what you say.” I’m not a mean person, but sometimes, I do wish to make my points clear and understandable. When writing about spiritual symbols or vague ideas, I like to sound as mysterious as the subject matter. I’m guessing the latter would be more open to interpretation. Specifically, I might leave a clue or two to help the reader catch my drift, especially when writing poetry, where too much elaboration can enable the readers mind to drift. Are you still with me? 😉

    Good to see you again! Peace and luvz, Keith

    Like

  9. drpendyala2005
    September 26, 2013

    This is for you dear Uncle Tree
    She has the class
    she has the radiance
    she has the tenderness
    she has the confidence
    she has the charm
    she can excite anyone
    she smells of trust & love
    she can drive you insane
    She is the inspiration to wake up
    she can make you dizzy
    she can make you happiest
    she can make you smile laugh & cry
    she is the most beautiful
    Her name is Poetry…

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      September 26, 2013

      so lovely when people post their poetry here…and such sweet words. You are always welcome Pendyala.

      Like

      • drpendyala2005
        September 29, 2013

        Thank you Dr. Niamh Clune and thank you dear Aprilia Zank…

        Like

  10. thiskidreviewsbooks
    September 26, 2013

    What beautiful paintings. 🙂

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      September 26, 2013

      So glad you like the images, Erik! They do look like paintings, don’t they? They are actually the brilliant photographic work of Aprilia. Photography and art are one!

      Like

  11. BUTTERFLIES OF TIME
    September 29, 2013

    Brilliant ! Such a talented person. Congrats Aprilia and Niamh on a great piece and the artwork is truely amazing.

    Like

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This entry was posted on September 25, 2013 by in Guest Authors, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , .
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