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2023 Vol. 14 №3

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Non-translation as palimpsest in hermetic poetry



Ezra Pound’s “Pisan Cantos” is a multi-layered palimpsest rewritten and written over previous editions several times, in which the non-translation of quotes, sayings and headlines becomes an aesthetically significant device. Younger branches of complex poetry after 1945, on the one hand, overcome Pound’s total project, on the other, inherit him through this ‘gap’. Within the framework of this article, the author explores how hermetic poetry (language writing, metarealism and generation of the 21st century) uses non-translation and untrans­latable to create/express political and ontological problems corresponding to this gap. So, in “Drafts” by Rachel Blau DuPlessis, palimpsest exposes the very deployment of language, writing, the ‘trace’ of other languages — all this develops together with the optics of studying writing and the loosening of the dominant hierarchies of poetic subjectivity and artistic form. In the poetry of metarealists Arkady Dragomoshchenko and Alexei Parshchikov, non-translation serves as a way of creating palimpsest marginalia, structuring the perception of interweaving images both through donor text and through the transformation of its motives. And the discommunicative palimpsest of Ekaterina Zakharkiv’s poem “Hiroo Onoda” is based on the unrepresentative function of the non-translation, when the collision of different lan­guages, quotes and references creates both difficulty in perception and communicative faults in the narrative fabric of the work. Thus, the article is an attempt to derive points on a con­tour map of poetic practices, showing both the formation of a way of inter-linguistic inte­rac­tion within the text that is different from multilingualism, and the ways of inheritance through the rupture of the complex and ambiguous nature of Ezra Pound’s “Cantos”, which gave rise not only to a new type of modernist epic, but also a special type of poetic palimpsest.


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