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This review is taken from PN Review 15, Volume 7 Number 1, September - October 1980.

CHANG AND ENG Dominique Grandmont/Jack Beeching, Images au Miroir/Mirror Images (Piccolo Press) £2.00

This attractively produced booklet, containing three poems by each author, together with translations of each other's work, must be accounted a good idea which does not work out well in practice. M. Grandmont's poems are rather slight, dealing with a vacant world in which time is uncertain: they rely for their effect very much on atmosphere, on the echoes that their language can suggest. Mr. Beeching's approach is more specific and works towards the general by way of detail. They do not obviously appear to suit one another-certainly Mr. Beeching does not really capture the fluidity of the French poems, while his own poems occasionally suffer over-elaboration of phrasing at the hands of M. Grandmont. In general the translations are rather flat: they also contain some puzzling renderings which, on two occasions at least, look to be wrong. Mr. Beeching translates 'et que ce soit/le printemps encore ou l'été ne revêt plus qu'une importance/ancienne' with 'and this as if/Spring were come again, when summer's consequence/Is long gone by'-suggesting that he has misread 'ou' as 'où' and has twisted the rest to fit, ignoring the sense of 'que ce soit' (whether it is); while M. Grandmont renders 'the scream' as 'le rire'. Such flaws do not inspire confidence in the accuracy of the mirror, nor does the failure of logic which leaves a French phrase used by Mr. Beeching in an English poem still in French in the translation. More generally, to translate anything from one language to another may ...


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