domingo, maio 02, 2010

Entrevista com Erín Moure

Temos o prazer de apresentar uma entrevista com a poetisa Canadiana Erín Moure, autora do livro "Sheep's Vigil by a Fervent Person", em que efectuou uma "tradução criativa" do "Guardador de Rebanhos" de Alberto Caeiro. Para quem perdeu o nosso primeiro post relativo a este livro, relembramos que podem ver aqui um pequeno vídeo da autora a ler o início do mesmo.

How did you come across Alberto Caeiro. As I understand, you bought a book by him, before you started to learn Galician?

I had a "selected poems" of Caeiro, translated by Honig and Brown, before I had ever seen a complete work by Pessoa in Portuguese. I'd bought it in October of 1989. It was the Canadian poet Phil Hall (one of our best read poets) who pointed out the book to me in a bookstore. So even though I came relatively late to Pessoa (he was virtually unknown in English Canadian letters, though... as I was later to find out... very well known in French in Quebec), I was aware of Pessoa, aware of his heteronyms, aware of the amazement of his creations.

Do you know other works of Pessoa and how is Pessoa read and discussed in Canada and in between Canadian poets?

Really I think there was little discussion of Pessoa among Canadian poets writing in English before Sheep's Vigil. At first, my publisher did not even consider it a translation (even though it clearly is) and thought my name a better selling point than Pessoa's and left his off the cover of the first edition of hte book! To my knowledge, it was the first time the translator's name appeared on the cover and not the writer's! That was remedied with the second edition and since.

There is still more discussion of heteronyms in general and readings of Pessoa in dribs and drabs than there is of reading whole works by him. His other heteronym who is recognized is of course Ricardo Reis, but that is through Saramago. And early on, there were many people reading The Book of Disquiet, which appeared at first in a vastly abridged edition in English translation (whereas in French it was in several volumes and complete)... In French, Pessoa was read, particularly Le livre de l'intranquillité... and Antonio Tabucchi was read as well, and Les trois derniers jours de Fernando Pessoa was made into a play, by the acclaimed director Denis Marleau.

All these years later, Pessoa _is_ better known among Canadian poets, and more poets seek out his work and read the various heteronyms. Everyone at least knows who Pessoa is!

You say in your book that you wish your work to be read as a "trans-erin-lation" and not just as your own poems, can you elaborate?

I was afraid that, due to the paucity of translations of international work in Canada, and due to the narrow view of translation prevalent here, people would consider the book to be my own "personal expression" and would refuse to receive it as a translation. My insistence was that it is legitimately a translation: all the poems are there, the philosophy of Caeiro is intact, it is just the ground has been altered somewhat in order to translate the humour. And to indicate the universality of the work of Pessoa: it transcends place and time.

I found it wonderful how you adapted your city memories to the country landscapes of Caeiro. If you remember the poem III, he talks about Cesário Verde, which was a poet that talked about the countryside but lived in the city? Isn't your atempt also a contradition in terms?

Of course! That is what is beautiful about Caeiro and where he leads you. He himself starts the book with a contradiction... the title is O Guardador de rebanhos, and the first poem says Eu nunca guardei rebanhos! That contradiction is very very critical in approaching the book! For his philosophy opens up within this contradiction, which makes the philosophy possible and even tenable.

I spoke before about "rural" Toronto. Toronto being a city of 4.5 million people, that seems a contradiction too. For me, where I was living for 4 months that year was a kind of "rural" Toronto and reminded me of the Calgary of my childhood (where we grew up in the city, but catching gophers, trapping muskrat, fishing, helping my mother grow the huge garden we ate out of, etc). The part of Toronto where I was was residential, relatively far from "downtown" and far from its concerns... it was built up in the 30s, 40s, 50s, in patchwork fashion around some ravines and creeks, and the roads and lots follow the contours of the original land, so that even though it is a residential area, you can still see and field the "rural" in the landscape beneath you.... in newer suburbs, since the 1960s, the original landscape is razed and altered before houses are built, so there is little sign apart from the wind (which is the same wind) of the landscape that once existed....

So in that city landscape of Toronto, the country landscape was still visible... I lived with a cat, and the cat lived not in the city but in the country beneath it, and i learned to inhabit that country too...

Do you think there's humour in Caeiro or is he a "dry", cold poet?

Caeiro is hilarious! He is ribbing us constantly....

In Portugal, lately, there is some discussion around the fact that Pessoa wasn't maybe an original, being influenced, in the case of Caeiro, by Whitman. How do you feel about this? Is he an original, in your opinion?

There is no absolutely original in writing, there are only versions and echoes. In all these versions and echoes (which are beautiful!), some writers rise up with a power and breadth that draws and astonishes us... Pessoa is one of those writers. Even if he read and loved Whitman, he is a greater writer than Whitman, had more breadth, multiple facilities, and leads us to greater and more various places... he is definitely an original in the sense you mean...

In conclusion, what was the main thing you got from reading Caeiro?

His philosophy of simple observation and being in the moment is something I bear with me always, and his humour freed me in many ways. In many ways, in translating Pessoa's Caeiro, I became changed myself, in my work and in my being. I wisecrack and say I became Eirin Moure, another second generation heteronym of Pessoa, in translating that book. And translation and its layers, and heteronyms (i.e. Elisa Sampedrín) have been with me and my work ever since.