Rebecca Ruth Gould deposited Translating Line Breaks: A View from Persian Poetics in the group Persian and Persianate Studies on Humanities Commons 5 months, 1 week ago
Line breaks are arguably the defining feature of poetry, in the absence of which a text becomes prose. Consequently, the translation of line breaks is a decisive issue for every poetry translator. Classical and modern literary theorists have argued that the potential for enjambment, which we understand as the effect that makes line breaks possible in poetry, constitutes the difference between poetry and prose. Yet, the translation of line breaks is among the least studied areas of translation theory. This essay explores the challenge of translating classical and modernist line breaks through examples from Persian and European literary canons. From Shams-i Qays’s classic treatise on Persian prosody to Arthur Rimbaud and William Carlos Williams to modernist poet Bijan Elahi’s poetic rewriting of One Thousand and One Nights, we explore the options open to the translator-poet who seeks to create a new poem in and through translation.