Jane first read "The Envoi" and then spoke about some of the problems involved in its translation into Russian, e.g., there's no word for "thirsty" and "long-legged" had to be substituted with the Russian "spindly-legged" as the former apparently has negative connotations about Americans. She spoke also about a "sound-driven" poem—I like that idea—and "wandering rhymes."
She spoke also about our moods and said the one she finds least tolerable is anxiety. Yet she said that anxiety gives us good information: we need to change what is causing us anxiety. She spoke about training awareness, which is the purpose of Buddhism and something we need as poets. She then took questions and finished by reading poems by other poets. And she recommended a book: Metaphors We Live By. I plan to order it.
Naomi also spoke of poetry as an international art, one that costs little money and one that we should pass on. Poetry, she said, encourages respect for other students. I always found that to be true when I was teaching. Even a hostile classroom warmed up when I brought in poetry, especially when I had my students write it.
This was another excellent session.
My final assignment was to introduce the panel on The Mysterious Life within Translation. But Robert Hass just started, so my work was done for me. Above you see Forrest Gander, Coral Bracho, Hass, and Peter Cole. This was held in the same church where I'd been on Thursday with Maxine Kumin. Good turnout, lots of thoughtful questions and responses. This seemed to complete a nice circle for my day, taking me back to Jane Hirshfield's comments about translation.