This essay reads the eccentricities of William Carlos Williams's translations from the Spanish, collected in By Word of Mouth (2011), as extensions of the archipelic and hemispheric poetics developed in such early works as Kora in Hell: Improvisations (1920) and In the American Grain (1925). Specifically, the essay focuses on Williams's idiosyncratic translations of Hispanic Caribbean poets Luis Palés Matos and Eugenio Florit, reading them as instances of what Lawrence Venuti calls a “resistant translation” that insists on a “foreignizing” viscosity—what Barbara Folkart critiques as a graininess—against the unmarked fluency of the conventional translator. Repurposing Folkart's metaphor, this essay argues that graininess is central to Williams's poetics, from his associative leaps to his transcultural approach to vernacular language. Paying particular attention to Williams's rendering of Caribbean/American landscapes (akin to Edouard Glissant's paysage), this essay considers the nonequivalences in Williams's translations within a poetics of Caribbean/American graininess.
Urayoán Noel; For a Caribbean American Graininess: William Carlos Williams, Translator. Small Axe 1 November 2013; 17 (3 (42)): 138–150. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-2378964
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