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Amy Wright at The Humble Essayist

For years now poet and essayist Amy Wright has been writing prose translations of Emily Dickinson under the title “The Butterfly Nail.” I first discovered them in her 2016 chapbook Wherever the land is published by MIEL books, but I have also found versions that have appeared online since 2011. Provocative and dense in texture they are not intended to be either traditional translations or critical commentaries, but works of art in themselves.

“What I am working to create is not a facsimile, but another work altogether,” she explained in an interview with Sarah Escue, “an apple in itself, if one that falls not far from the tree from which it sprung.” Wright’s translations do not explain the poem, but deepen, enrich, and complicate it allowing it’s truths to cross boundaries. “I think of translation as a means of communicating across time or country or language or media potentially universal insights.” In her translations Wright explores the enormously rich interconnection between poetry and prose that has long been an interest at THE so we have stretched our usual format to feature one example, "Faith--is the Pierless Bridge," this week. at

pic: jdnx CC 2.0

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Aug 15, 2023

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