Dead Love: Zombie/Ghoul Poetry Smackdown

Is there competition going on here? I post a few poems and Clément starts firing off his translations. I do love his opening to this poem by Gérard de Nerval, the French romantic poet whose passion for dreams and the spirit world so influenced the Surrealists. I’ve read a lot of versions of El Desdichado and no one gets the rhythm and the rhyme right. Clément does more than translate; he makes poems new, tries to give readers the same poetic experience as the original. I admit this grudgingly because, well, he is such an egotist. He does get things right here though, in the opening stanza of this famous sonnet … in spite of his ghastly, ghouly self.

El Desdichado (excerpt)

Je suis le ténébreux, – le veuf, – l’inconsolé,
Le prince d’Aquitaine à la tour abolie;
Ma seule étoile est morte, – et mon luth constellé
Porte le Soleil noir de la Mélancolie.

—Gérard de Nerval

I am the shadowed one, —the inconsolable widower,
The prince of Aquitaine in the abandoned tower;
My only star is dead, —and my constellated lute
Bears Melancolia’s black solar flower.

—Translation: Clément

—Erin Orison, DEAD LOVE/the Daily Slice

  • Jobiggar

    Wow, Clement, I'm looking at you with new respect. Poetry. I had no idea. But, of course, cheri, Gerard de Nerval is the perfect, dark poet for you now, isn't he?

  • boldlow

    Wonders never cease! Clement waxes poetic? Erin – how did YOU get so proficient in other languages besides English? Anyhow, what's the score — Erin 3/Clement 1? Have you figured out how to bridge the virtual/visceral with sound? Would LOVE to hear you read these poetic musings/translations! Thank you for bringing some fabulous literature to the fold … stagger on!

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