Traductions de Xi Chuan

Some time ago this blog received a comment from Agnès Dupuis, a PhD candidate in Montréal writing her dissertation on Xi Chuan and translation into French. We started a brief but illuminating (for me, anyhow) correspondence, with her explaining the background of her argument to me via email.

Recently I came across some of her published translations of Xi Chuan’s early work, including three poems I’ve translated for Notes on the Mosquito–”Écho” 回声, my “Echo”; “Il a vieilli” 一个人老了, my “A Man Ages”; and “Mener un troupeau à la mer” 把羊群赶下大海, my “Send Your Flock to the Sea” (her first translation, “L’automne, en Quatorze Lignes,” is from Xi Chuan’s 秋天十四行, which we decided not to include). Here’s how she begins “Écho“:

Tout être est comme une ville

Il est un écho

 

Les briques et les pierres entassées repoussent l’océan vers le lointain

Le brouillard, aux petites heures du matin, se confine

 

Et toutes ces forteresses qui nous protègent de l’horizon

Mais qui donc autrefois allait faire paître le troupeau ?