The Twins, the Dream: Two Voices

Diana Bellessi, Author, Ursula K. Le Guin, Author Arte Publico Press $16.95 (225p) ISBN 978-1-55885-170-2
Through correspondence, Le Guin, a prolific American writer (The Left Hand of Darkness; Unlocking the Air and Other Stories, etc.), and Bellessi, an Argentinean poet, collaborated on translating each other's poems to produce this intimate exchange of language and culture. The intrinsic value of this quirky edition lies in the bilingual presentation, for the two poets' success in reaching cross-cultural audiences is limited by their lack of expertise in translation. In Le Guin's hands, Bellessi's internal rhythms are lost and words are stripped of layers of meanings. For instance, the question ""?Sabias/ cuando te encontre en Paris... sabias, que te hubiera hecho el amor?"" loses the poignant effect of the narrator's looking back at a youthful episode when Le Guin turns it into the statement ""You know, when I saw you in Paris... you know, I would have made love to you."" Bellessi, in turn, overpowers Le Guin's direct voice, at times transforming her meaning entirely. In ""The House of the Spider: A Spell to Weave,"" Le Guin states: ""They are together,/ the brother,/ no other."" Bellessi changes ""no other"" to ""el humano,"" shucking Le Guin's specific to express her own wider concerns. In their own languages, the poets' magic shines, as in Bellessi's adventurous ""Cruising the Equator"" and Le Guin's ""Dos Poesias para Mi Diana,"" which divulges not only the title for the book, but the intimate nature of poetry and this collaboration. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
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