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There are more essays on prose than poetry: Bassnett and Balmer’s engagement withtheir texts, however, aredistinctly different fromthat of theprosetranslators (withthepossible exceptionof Carol Maier’s essayonhowone’s body’s engages withone’s sourcetext). Bassnett, for example, shows howher ownpoetry stemmed fromapowerfulbond with theArgentine poet AlejandraPizarnikwhomshewas translating. Theprose writersmayhaveprovided muchofthewit and funinthebook butit isBalmer whotakesus tothedarkside. Withapowerful discussionandaharrowingworking-throughof emotions, she details howshedealt withtheloss of aniecethroughcancer, approachingit obliquelythroughtranslationinawaythat is bothpainful andmoving. She does this by way of a fairly faithful versionof apassagefromDe RaptuProserpinae bythe littleknownRomanpoetClaudian, hereamendedbyherown newsubtitle:

2/8/:6.47AM

. . . butnowoursoftmeadowsbruised, riversstopped mid-flow, fieldsrustedlikeforgottenploughs. Tobreathewassuicide: treesdrainedof green, rosesshedtheirpetals, liliesshrivelled beforeoureyes. AndthenHeturnedaway, swingingroundthereinslikethegatesof Hell gratingtoaclose. Nightscuttledafter asthelightseepedbackintoourblackworld– –everywherewaslight sunandskyandlight– andyoursmall daughternowheretobeseen.

Thetranslators inthis bookgivesomuchof themselves and their workit isn’t possibletodoit justiceinasinglereview, butitdoescomewithahealth warning– it is almostcertain to impacton both yourwritingand readinghabits.Sonow it’s off toWaterstonestograbacopyofTeachYourselfChinese tomake

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