Saturday, February 27, 2010

Homophonic Gauvreau

This weekend is the last chance to see the Automatiste exhibition at the Varley in Unionville before it moves on to the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo. In honour of this incredible collection of material, I thought I'd share a translation I did of one of Claude Gauvreau's one-act plays.

"Trustful Fatigue and Reality" is the only text in Entrails (Coach House, 1981), Ray Ellenwood's award-winning English translation of Gauvreau's short plays, that Ellenwood chose not to "translate" as it is appears to be written in an invented language with few recognizable cognates. Gauvreau himself would call this style of writing an attempt to move beyond standard poetic imagery (which may be rhythmic, reflective, or transformative according to Gauvreau) to a new image explor éenne, or explorational image consisting of non-semantic utterance.

In keeping with this explorational process, my solution was to render the play semantically, but in non-referential language through a homophonic translation. The original Gauvreau, followed by my translation, appears below.

Claude Gauvreau (1925-1971)

Trustful Fatigue and Reality

Keulessa Kyrien Cobliéniz Jaboir

Veulééioto Caubitchounitz Abléoco

Vénicir Chlaham Kérioti Kliko

Sannessa vélo Moutchnaïk Révoi

Kharinaïne bénessoir sellèr achmatz

krioun alégo amemor ripiutz leslé

aglradine noeutéon paklica erremmetz

djackliane mandousse petréobor

nochnéagriawa sételsel clariassener

jôquoimoil nontonduc allessande rébrér

novaképalès Djvoriadjiana Kuntroubel

tetrapaïte jonsel nilâcouâ alrivage

akdoc cousine-germaine déplaatz

circuitz monse dobo lévil-clair

palosse-pensée moulmolossse adjeuate

Kénoice Salibleuwié Aklistantan

Schnlouem Jakonitz Eulbéka Krôhenn

LaToilia Dédjoitonte Wanékoin

Lite-gazère Goitena Chapelle automatique


A Homophonic Translation of Claude Gauvreau’s “Trustful Fatigue and Reality”

[For Ray Ellenwood]

Keys you lease, Kyries cost, laid in knights jab our

View; lay into cows, bitch or nits enable a coup.

Venice cheers: L’chaim; carry-outs click out.

Sand-nestled veils of Mount Karnak reveal

Karen-Anne, Benny’s sore cellar, and mats.

Crayons and Lego, a memoir ripped its last legs.

A glad dime, no eating, we packed light, an error met.

Jack and Dianne: man does Peter abhor ‘em.

Nought or nay, agreeable water-sellers clear a sinner.

Joe crows “more oil”: none-ton dukes all sand their Ray beards.

Nova comes pale, DJs various, and DJs come troubled.

Tetra packs join sales; nails and coins all ravage.

And our dock cousins: Germans out of place.

Circus monks say: to do about evil’s clear?

Pals lose pens, say: more molasses and juice, eh?

Ok, once slipped you weigh acts, lists, and time.

Since you’re him, Jack (or not), you’ll beckon crows and hens.

Late toil, I’m dead; joy taunts, wanting coin.

Light glazes air, going on ten, the chap’s an auto magnate.