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Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. Translating the poetry placerees Bukowski: Translating the Poetry of Bukowski: The Raw Lyricism Abstract Charles Bukowski is one of the most important and influential American writers of the twentieth century. Introduction Even though Charles Bukowski is one of the most important and influential American writers of the twentieth century, his poetry has been subject of rather few academic studies.

Not only has such poetry remained highly unnoticed bukkowski the literary criticism, but also has achieved poor international recognition beyond the English- speaking boundaries. Bukowski uses this resource while taking carefully into consideration the form of his creations, thus expressing himself with a unique voice.

Always fluctuating between the colloquial and the refined, between placetes prosaic and the poetic, between the raw and the lyricism, the complexity of this author make of his work a paradox in itself, filled with contradictions.

I kneel in the nights me arrodillo por las noches before tigers ante tigres that will not let me be. Sex has a modest place in the poetry of Bukowski, although we find this fact counteracted with his provocative short stories.

However, love does take a leading role in his poetry with more than a hundred fifty poems dedicated to that matter, to the limits of love and to its heartbreaks.

For instance, in a moment of deep love, he wrote: I drive around the streets an inch away from weeping, ashamed of my sentimentality and possible love. Jane Baker, this brave, alcoholic woman, who was ten years older than Bukowski, was his first serious romantic attachment. Their tortuous relationship was bykowski on multiple arguments and reconciliations.

Los placeres del condenado

Jane baker died of alcoholism in He would write poems about her xondenado thirty years after her death. And neither can I. He introduces beautiful images as he recalls the moments that they spent together. The tigers mentioned in the poem are a metaphor for grief, solitude and sadness, and Bukowski is their target: Finally, plunged into this state of existential pain, he succumbs willingly under this whirl of self-destructive feelings: As we have seen so far, life and work are almost non-detachable in Charles Bukowski.

On many occasions, we find that the identity of cel man who writes is that of the man he is writing about. In this poem, Bukowski will tell us a brutal story about his childhood, about the abuse that he and his mother suffered at the hands of the father for several years. Among other things, it is so because the writer kept several friendship bonds with female friends and colleagues all along his life.


He also stood against women abuse: I don’t quite know what to do for them. This powerful piece of writing problematizes domestic violence by means of metaphors and a dialogued scene, always respecting the canonical disposition of stanzas and verses.

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The metaphor of the mother and Henry Bukowski himself embodying the goldfish seems evident here. The element of the goldfish seemed at first to have been randomly thrown into the poem, just in the same way that they seem to have been placed randomly on the table next to the picture window: In addition, we find a sad paradox in the way that the mother elicits Henry to smile and to be happy while she and her son are mistreated and suffer the undeserved violence of an abusive father.

By means of condenxdo writing techniques, Bukowski transmits a message not only through the content of a poem, but also through its form. There are some other features regarding the formal aspects of his writing that need to be taken into consideration when translating the poetic work of Bukowski. The most important ones with which we are going to deal in this paper are the spontaneous prose, pretended orality and the different literary devices.

Considering the text about to be produced as if it was a mental image, the writer must let the resulting words and ideas flow out of his head. The poet always wrote all at once and rewrote it just one, if any, time. This principle will be recurrent in Bukowski. Se escribe pegada a la palabra o el signo que la precede y separada por un espacio de la palabra placerse el signo que la sigue.

Los placeres del condenado : Charles Bukowski :

On other occasions, he makes a massive use of commas in a stanza or in a few verses, breaking once again punctuation rules in English and in the Spanish translation. In addition to that, Bukowski employs several commas to create simultaneity between two or more events instead of using linking words, as we can see in the previous passage with the dle of the goldfish.

To keep them gives the reader the feeling of simultaneity and fluency of spontaneous poetry, while keeping the normative punctuation rules would result in a loss of spontaneity and freshness.

However, the special and innovative use of this punctuation mark in Spanish may give a sense of artificiality to the poem, and therefore it needs to be used carefully. Another important aspect of the formal content is the bykowski which deals with pretended orality.


Pretended orality is accurately defined by Margenat as the concept used to describe a writer that makes use of some devices in his writing to simulate or transmit oral usage.

This device also covers the use of linguistic elements belonging almost exclusively to oral communication, such as dialectic elements and colloquialisms.

Pretended orality embodies a series of features.

The first one is the spontaneous speech, displayed through exclamation marks, as well as repetitions and questions typical of oral speech.

There is also a sense of chaos and paradoxical humor in the spontaneous speech more typical of a Surrealist work, as Margenat affirms. Charles Bukowski calls on these devices to soften the existentialist tone of the poem-story. Another important mark of pretended orality is the intonation that the writer wants to give to the poems.

It is important to distribute these words correctly in the Spanish translation in order to maintain the musical and rhythmical effect of this rhetoric device. Semantic content Irony is the most defining element in Charles Bukowski. The harsh reality he describes in his verses is very often imbued with irony. Charles Bukowski builds up his ironic verses through a contradictory mechanism: By way of this device, he causes a feeling of uncertainty and a sentimental paradox in the reader.

Humor is another distinctive element in Bukowski and also needs to be taken into consideration when translating. As we have formerly mentioned in the paper, he uses both irony and humor to soften the existentialist tone of the poem. We could consider that expression partly as black humor and partly as a vulgar way of referring to a dead loved one.

Conclusion Once that we have analyzed the two poems, and after having gone through all the features required to produce a good translation in the target language Spanish, in our casewe may understand now the complexity of translating an author like Charles Bukowski.

It is very important to have some specific knowledge about the author and his writing techniques in order to avoid mistakes.

This knowledge includes, as we have seen, an awareness of his personality, work, style and intention, which can give the translator the keys to produce a good version in the Spanish language. City Lights Books, 1st edition. The Portable Beat Reader. Fernanda Pivano interviews Charles Bukowski. Remember me on this computer.

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