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translation is like falling in love

Updated: Nov 12, 2023


Sarah Luczaj, Ida Sieciechowicz, Anna Marchewka, Krakowskie Noce Poezji


I've just realised - the act of translation is a little like therapy and a lot like falling in love.

While each person has a completely different brain, heart, soul-system, completely different experiences and just a different life, when we fall in love we feel for a while as if we completely understand the other. And more than that, it's as if we see the world through the same eyes and have the same experience, and although all our individual experiences and structures remain, we come to have new skills and ways of seeing at our disposal, they're incorporated somehow, so we're changed.


Translating a poem is like that, you look at the poem in the other language, in completely different words, structures and histories, and you find the sense of understanding - not literally - but the gist of it, the sense of it all, and there's a moment you grasp that and it feels the same, no matter the language, and then you incorporate the ways it's said, and create those things in your own language, and the poems become versions of each other that feel as if they are the same, although they look and in a really important sense are entirely different.


I've just come back from a promotion for Ida Sieciechowicz's amazing new book, 'Ciecia ciala w real time/Body Incision in Real Time (Wydawnictwo Ksiegarnia Akademicka), a bi-lingual book, the English versions which I translated.


It was an experience of falling in love, I had caught the essence of each poem, whether or not I had all the precise vocabulary yet, and brought it through my own system, my own body. It was during the interview that I had this realisation - I had a few more as well!


I'd like to thank Ida for the extreme visceral excitement and enrichment generated by translating her extraordinary poetry and Anna for the interesting interpretations, illuminating the contexts, the great questions.


A highly limited number of copies of the book, signed by Ida, are now available here.



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