Sunday, January 28, 2007

Some Foundations

As I wrote in my previous post this blog will focus on my work in young Russian poetry. One of the things I've been working on is figuring out who to translate, which means developing some criteria. This, of course, raises the question of criteria in general. What counts as what, and why? The question of genre and quality. Blah Blah Blah...As I write this I chat with my cousin about a Last FM station: Artists similiar to Goldmund that she listened to last night. She writes me the following:

…in fact, I was thrilled by this electronic composition, but couldn’t understand why. What did it remind me of? Why was this sound so piercing? It was indescribable, as if I was a step away from understanding what the sound meant, but was always just a step away; what did it mean, and how was it connected to the rest of the events in my life? After letting the station play for a few hours, and listening to different genres, it hit me like a diamond bullet: it wasn’t the music that was making me feel this way, but my old crapped out computer speakers. After fixing the speakers, I realized why the sound was so mellifluous, and even allaying, --it reminded me of the clogged up sink in our old Stalin era apartment! It was as if from the adjacent room I had received a Soviet transmission from twenty years ago, worn, broken, but still warm. It was like receiving a radio signal on the other side of the galaxy after most of the life on earth had long since expired…

I translated the above from Russian, and took a bit of poetic license, but I think the description of that sublime feeling, which art can bring, gets across well enough. When we first have a positive encounter with an aethetic object we don't really know why the encounter is so moving, and only after much searching do we realize why the thing is so powerful and beautiful.