working happiness

Today I got into the groove of working, everything came together beautifully, and I charged ahead with pieces of thesis from beginning to end. I am now up to page 107.  This sounds like a lot, but it’s double spaced and after page 40 it is mostly poems, and half the poems are the original Spanish, and many of them are sonnets.   I’m maybe halfway through.  It’s all formatted nicely and the bibliography is mostly straightened out. 

I hope they let me single-space the poems so that it will look shorter, because my readers are going to freak out that it’s too long.   I can cut some things but don’t want to cut out entire poets when I’ve gone to all this effort.

Some of the translations are still kind of cruddy and rough. I like to make at least 4 or 5 passes through a poem. And then let it sit on the back burner for a while.  Even after days of staring at something or pondering it quietly in the car while I drive around, I’ll be haunted by an awkward line or phrase.   Well.  At this point I’m still haunted by awkward bits of translations I’ve gotten published. And it’s like torture to see them because now I’ve thought of a better way.  

One huge gaping problem… I haven’t paid any attention at all to Storni and Mistral… because everyone else does. I like them of course, but… if other people are translating them and they’re all popular, I’m just less interested…   Should I leave them out and explain why in the introduction?  Or quickly pick and translate a tiny poem from each of them for completeness’ sake?

It felt REALLY good to get this far. Tomorow morning I have to go judge the Deadwood City Youth Poetry Contest (!) which I think will take a couple of hours… I don’t have a good handle on how much work it will be, but surely not too bad.  Then I’m going to charge ahead further.

Looking at the printout all nicely arrayed in a binder makes me feel huge and floaty, like a blimp, or maybe one of those imaginary Jupiter aliens from “Cosmos”.  I feel like I just expanded right out of my skin. It’s not done yet and there’s a lot to do, but it’s looking real and I feel great about it.  I believe it it as a project… when I’m done with the degree part of it, I’m going to make it the most beautiful book, but it will take me a while, because there’s so much more research to do and much more translating. And the golden thought of this project as about an 800-page book, a big, fat, juicy anthology with footnotes and appendices, makes me just about die with happiness.

I could make smaller books, like a nice one of just the cubans who all wrote poems to each other, or only the modernistas, or even all poems with Sappho in them, or…   Yeah, any of those small ones would be a lot of fun.

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One Response to “working happiness”

  1. Wired



    I love it when I finish a book at it comes back all Professional and Grown Up, sometimes with Color Covers and (in my dreams) Perfect Binding.
    My big accomplishment for today is taking a five-page doc and making it a one-page doc. It’s good work, but it’s not as satisfying as a big whack of paper.
    (The Sparrow is one of your random books today! Someday, I want to write a liberation-theology analysis of it, but currently I am still to scarred to re-read it.)

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