Pieces on the art and politics of translation
Poem by Linh San, translated by Châu Hoàng
Tôi phải ở lại trong ngôn ngữ này, như đã trong một cơn mơ bổng, như đã trong một cú kéo chìm, một tự trói buộc, nhọc nhằn và vẫn ở đó, chút lửa nhen. | I have to reside in this language, as in a flying dream, as in a sinking down, a self-bound, burdensome and still there, little fire.
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‘First memory of English: my father orders spaghetti from a waitress. / Foreign flowers blossom in his mouth and I’m spellbound in Urdu. // On Friday afternoons, cars spill across a bleached suburb. / Not far from the mosque, look! Crooked lines of devout Urdu.’
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‘there was / my mother packaging miàn tiáo by the sink. / breath in the morning. breath in the afternoon. / the way history comes back to haunt me with / a plump fist. the way my mouth, a cave, opened / and closed.’
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