On the first of February, the Polish poetess, Wisława Szymborska, slept peacefully into the next world. She left behind a treasury of poems, which she sometimes accompanied with her own paper collages. Some of these collages were printed in the book, Sounds, Feelings, Thoughts: Seventy Poems by Wisława Szymborska, translated in 1981 by Magnus J. Krynski & Robert A. Maguire.
In 2000, I wrote a series of homophonic mistranslations* based on the parallel texts published in this excellent book. Two years later, I recorded a mistranslation of one of the poems, “Odkrycie.” The recording was sound mastered and engineered by Dave Andre. Here’s hoping you will pick up one of her books and read the “Discovery.”
*A homophonic mistranslation is the writing exercise of taking an original foreign language text, with the intention of composing a new poem based on one’s own unintelligible reading. Without prior knowledge of the definition and pronunciation of the words themselves, the mistranslation results purely from a subjective reading of the sounds of a language and its letters. It is different from other same-sound translations which may parody texts, or the writers of the texts themselves.
>>> For a more detailed bio and bibliography on Wisława Szymborska, and other Polish writers, please visit the Polish Ministry of Culture’s premier website, Culture.pl.