"Pino errante sobre la Tierra!"

Gabriela Mistral


The 12 years I spent translating Lea Goldberg began with a song on the radio: when I first heard Achinoam Nini's Hebrew-English version of "Pine," I recognized it as the first Hebrew poem I had ever learned, in a bad translation, back when I was 18 and could not yet read the original. I had not thought about the poem in many years, and I was completely taken by Nini's version. The simple, resonant surface of the poem belies a depth of wisdom, and this characterizes so much of Goldberg's work. For me "Pine" is the quintessential immigration poem. And so I was driven to translate it, and once I had, I couldn't stop. I translated Lea Goldberg's poetry in almost complete isolation for 10 years, speaking of it only to a handful of friends. Finally, in 2005, the manuscript-in-progress was a awarded a Witter Bynner Poetry Translator Residency at the Santa Fe Art Institute, where I spent a month finishing the translation. The full manuscript is still seeking a publisher. A small chapbook of the "Trees" sequence, including the poem "Pine," was the first book I type-set and printed at Fish-Eye Press. Here you can see the broadside version of "Pine," printed on paper made at the press and illustrated in colored pencil by Noga Farchi. <BGSOUND src="file.wav"> You can click here to see my translation of another Hebrew poem, this one by the poet Rachel Uziel Farchi (1937-2009).

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