The semantic slot machine

The semantic slot machine

Dear editors and Translators:

Here is a peek into my correspondence with my Russian translator. I want to single out this letter for it's powerful insight that much of American literature is multiplex while being populist. The slot machine combination of meaning is an important insight. A critical insight.



Here is a " Supermarket in California " translated. If there are no Cyrillic letters on the screen, try processing the Russian text with Russify package.

I remember reading Whitman in Chyelabinsk, Russia. Hiyavatha on the park bench in a city closed for foreigners. Walt is very important for the New World art of letters; he is a link between the authentic past and hard-to-escape reality. Since him, American literature gained coherence. Allen is his continuum, if we see him from this perspective. His Hiyavatha is a Elvis' U.S. male lost in glittering emptiness. Gabriel among fruit turns on a particular train of Allen's thought, that of keeping company with Walt. It puts an obscured level of existence in a limelight: as his poems stayed in the memory, Allen and Walt had never parted. A poet settle in one's heart when one's mindheart is splashed with his poems.

Imagination is active and images are vivid... cinematic? Multi-level awareness: talking to him, touch his book, strolling the streets. Hearing his question about the angel. Then it comes as a decyphered password -- "dreaming of the lost America". The abyss of things described with perfect infinitives, past tenses and a nostalgic "used to". The things that appeared in our mindheart and stay on, being resistant to deletion. And the Charon & Co is very much like a Greyhound. Or was it
Ellis Island where he landed?

Allen is very pensive here. Vladimir and Andrei are much more straightforward. Their comparisons (similies?) are brighter, Allen's more multi-layered, understanding him is agreeing on a slot-machine combination of meaning.

Mayakovski wrote about America -- he visited it in Calvin Coolidge's time.

"Yesli krOkha prognIla, plyEsnitsya --
BrOs' s razmAkhu vyes prognIvshij kus.
BrOsil ya, nye doyEv i myEsyaca,
Vashu mOdu, slAvu i vkUs."

(If a bit is rotten, spoilt --
Throw off the whole loaf you've bitten.
I have thrown off, some days short of a month,
Your fashion, your glory and your taste.)

That is Mayakovski being very critical of America.

Now Voznessenski's power:

"Nye trOzh'tye mUzyku rukAmi
ZatyEm chtob vAm nye otorvAlo rUk
(Do NOT touch music with your hands --
So that they were not torn off!)

Now back to translating...


All contents of this site © Finberg Books by Michael Arthur Finberg