February 13th, 2010


A New Book

a new book
of Neruda on my shelf
winter solitude

Actually, I have two new books of Neruda, but who's counting? Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to hear William O'Daly discuss his poetic process and the effect of translation on a poet's own poetry. Naia, Billie Dee, and I had just finished an afternoon of teaching haiku to children, so it made for a very full and wonderful day.

O'Daly has translated 8 books of Pablo Neruda, specializing in his late and posthumous work. He has spent the last 20 years doing these translations, but only recently was able to visit Chile and Easter Island. Having the opportunity to dine with him in the home of Kathabela and Rick Wilson for an informal talk, poetry reading and slide presentation was truly inspiring.

Kathabela Wilson, William O'Daly

One of my favorite quotes from the evening is when he discussed how to read a poem..."dance with it and let it reveal itself to you."

The idea of moving with a poem, absorbing its rhythms, and learning to dance it really appeals to me. It is so easy to dismiss a poem based on its top level without exploring its layers and other dimensions.

I dip my toe
and twirl it around...
water ripples

For those who want to learn more about William O'Daly, Rattle editor Timothy Green has a nice biography on his blog, as well as a link to Lois P Jone's interview with O'Daly on The Poet's Cafe last August.