Poetry by Alda Merini and Dawn Gorman Reviewed by Carla Scarano and Ruth Sharman

The High Window

TRANSLATION

*****

Love Lessons: Selected Poems of Alda Merini reviewed by Carla Scarano

Love Lessons: Selected Poems of Alda Merini translated by Susan Stewart. £12. Princeton University Press. 978-0691171265

An excellent selection of poems by the well-known Italian poet Alda Merini (1931–2009) is featured in Love Lessons, translated by Susan Stewart. The title of the collection was suggested by Merini herself, who viewed the translations before publication. Stewart’s work is a good example of what Umberto Eco calls the negotiation of translation, that is, an experience of translation that cannot say exactly the same thing in another language but needs to negotiate with the meaning and say almost the same thing. Translation is a form of interpretation that should respect the intention of the original text, according to Eco. Stewart is faithful to Merini’s work and respectful of her poems, sometimes in an almost literal way. Her translations can…

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