Notes by Michael Pursglove, translator of the book “STUDIA”
12 December 2019
Michael Pursglove (England), writer, translator, university teacher of Russian language and literature, who translated Alexander Korotko’s new book “STUDIA”. Upon completion of the work he wrote about a hard task to convey the spirit and lettering of the author’s poetry, which he highly appreciated. The close work of the poet and the translator appeared, according to Michael, an unexpected help: “Fortunately I was in the position, which all translators desire but do not always get, of being able to consult the author of the original text, Alexander Korotko, and the editor of Vsesvit magazine Dmytro Drozdovskyi and work closely and productively with them to resolve any difficulties”. Alexander Korotko highly appreciated Michael Pursglove’s translations level and expertise too, and wrote a note of acknowledgement on his Facebook page: “It is impossible for a poet to become Mozart, but a translator, alas, can become Salieri. In our case, the poet remained a poet and did not become Mozart, and the translator did not become Salieri. Unfortunately, starting to work, translators often do not realize their mission until the end and are not aware of being in contact not only with words, but above all with the author’s soul. If through time, through epochs of premonitions they meet at the touch point of two worlds, then thanks to the translator a new work is born as a continuation of the author’s creative fate. This miracle happened after meeting with Michael Pursglove from England. We have never met, but I have a feeling that we have known each other for a long time and Michael feels me and understands my poetry. The result of this was his translation of new literary work “STUDIA” that soon will be presented to the English reader”. Michael Pursglove studied in Bradford Grammar School, King’s College in Cambridge, New College in Oxford. He taught Russian language and literature in the Ulster University, the University of Reading, the University of Exeter, the University of Bath. He is known as a specialist, one of the three best literary translators of Russian works – classical and modern poetry and prose. The issue of translation quality always arises and accompanies any author who has entrusted his work to a translator. In this case, both the poet Korotko and the professional Pursglove were lucky, they found each other. Alexander Korotko has repeatedly expressed his thoughts about translations of his works. Here are two more quotes. “The translation text cannot be an exact copy of the original. No matter how paradoxical this may sound, a translator needs a strong passion, and no less inspiration, than an author of poetic lines. Sometimes it seems to me that translating is much harder than writing poetry yourself. I represent the modernist trend in poetry, so it’s very difficult when translating my verses to preserve the music… But there is a positive point in my verses: since most of them are written in free verse, this to some extent facilitates their translation. If the translation is an exact copy of the original, the verses die, wither, like flowers, and turn into a dried herbarium, where there is no soul, no emotions, no vitality. Translation is a reading, an understanding of the poet’s verbal memory, a gateway to his subconscious, where the words of the language in which the author writes are stored”. This was written more than ten years ago. And that’s what was said in the private conversation: “This is not a copy of an original as it is in painting. This is another original” Read Michael Pursglove’s notes published on the page “Criticism” of three versions of the website: