Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Poetics and Translation

Now that my neurons aren't all firing toward Ph.D. coursework, I'm realizing just how long it's been since I did any kind of blogging. Much has happened that's been bloggable, in MO and out of it--two trips to NYC this last spring, one for AWP, one meant to take me to the Paris Review benefit dinner to hang out with Tom Brokaw and co., that instead led to two amazing days of subwaying around Manhattan, Brooklyn, and beyond; a trip to CO's gorgeous San Luis Valley, where a big brown bear shook his way through a stand of pines not far from where we were driving; one to the Smokies where I discovered that you can get a rental car up a mountain path meant for four wheelers, and, even better, that it comes back down; in between, Columbia has been full of the lush, fusive humidity that helps the air to seem as close and constant as it is.

In the last few months, I've also gotten to start reading more poetics--Aristotelian, Lacanian, and others within the spectrum that they define. My Fulbright project preparation is helping me to study more translation theory, too, which overlaps wonderfully with the study of poetics. It seems possible to do the Lacanian thing of mathematizing the study, to say that Aristotle (poetics as category) + Derrida (translation as ubiquitous) = Shakespeare, and also to point such thought at the networks of global culture.

It's also been great to read the wonderful Stephen Greenblatt's Shakespeare bio, Will in the World. That, combined with Shapiro's 1599, give a combination of closeup and panorama that let his life and work overlap with now. All of this is possible because of the generosity of Mizzou, the way the woods around here seem to hold a pollenating light, and you. Have a wonderful rest of July.