Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

language, category, phenomenology  §

In the ideal, of course, poetry can not be translated. That is to say that the “ultimate poem” in a given language, should such a thing be found to exist, would utterly confound native speakers that attempted to translate it into non-native languages and non-native speakers that attempted to read it.

This is of course due to the linguistic foundation of ontology—the fact that what things are for any person and certainly also what any given word represents are the products of long-term cultural practice and praxis. Ideal poetry is untranslatable in the same way that subjectivity is untranslatable, since ideal poetry is the successful iteration of a deeply held collective subjectivity.

The reason that I bring this up is because it presents a vexing problem when your friends are a) creative enough to appreciate mutual wordplay, yet b) from different cultures and linguistic traditions from your own. You can share your mediocre work and enjoy some measure of satisfaction together in so doing, but all of your best work—on the part of every party—loses all value in this context.

And yet, of course, these are the works that are most valuable to their authors—and that their authors most want to share.

Yes, yes, it’s all old hat, “obvious,” says everyone, but my comment is that it’s also fucking sad. It’s my own editorial about the problem. It exaggerates loneliness and separation in what should be a unifying experience (the enterprise of engaging together in a shared practice).

It’s early. 3.10. I have work tomorrow. I have to go now.