Went to a fascinating workshop today about the differences between versions and translations and whether poetry really is lost in translation or whether new poetry is created. What I’m doing with Horace is to recontextualise and do versions, I try not to get too caught up with trying to capture the original ‘music’ of the poetry or the syntax, but I try to stay true to the Horatian themes and play with the Latin lexicon. Someone put the point today, ‘if it’s already been written why write it again?’ well, my answer would be, if it was worth saying then, it’s worth saying again but in today’s terms. As I said at conference, it’s not the differences in culture or particular identity, or social grouping or literary peculiarities that fascinate me, but rather the sameness of the human state – the things we have in common, that drive me and make me want to bring out the wit and wisdom in Horace.
I also thoroughly enjoyed a panel chaired by Kate Clanchy about Truth, Self and the Poetic ‘I’ and how when women write in the ‘I’ it tends to be read as autobiographical whereas this does not always apply to men writing in the ‘I’.
The day was rounded off with a splendid reading by Glyn Maxwell, Deryn Rees-Jones and Michael Longley – a real poetry feast.
The trouble with the last couple of days is that it’s made me want to go and read lots of poets again and to look out for the ones I don’t know, but I must stay focussed on Horace and of course the prospect of going back home to washing, ironing and walking the dog, plus, probably a mound of paperwork, not to mention a new project at the Museum of Antiquities and getting cracking on my PhD.