Holton, Brian

Brian Holton - Staunin Ma Lane - Chinese Verse in Scots and English


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Brian Holton - Staunin Ma Lane - Chinese Verse in Scots and English

Translated from Chinese, into Scots and English

Published March 2016. Paperback, 146pp, 8 x 8ins
ISBN 9781848614666 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]
Staunin Ma Lane isn’t intended to be a comprehensive tour of classical [Chinese] poetry, though it does contain specimens of many of the major genres and styles, and it may serve as a first primer. Note that the poetry is in the Scots: the English versions are there to help the non-Scots speaker. It has been my aim to make poems in Scots: if you expect to find dictionary definitions of Chinese words in my translations, you will be disappointed. That sort of drably mechanical ‘accuracy’ does not make poetry, and a poem that doesn’t move the reader is like a joke that isn’t funny. In the translation of poetry, there are many, many more ways of being wrong than of being right, and I do not claim that my versions are in any way definitive or better than anyone else’s: I do, however, want to say to the reader, “Deek whit the Mither Tongue can dae: gin it can dae this, whit’ll it no can dae?” (Look what our mother tongue can do: if it can do this, what will it not do?), and I would urge readers inclined toward translation to do it for themselves, whatever their mother tongue might be.   —from Brian Holton’s Afterword in this volume.

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