B. P. Nichol,  with an introduction by the author & including research notes by Hart Broudy, Dick Higgins, Steve McCaffery, Richard Truhlar & Karl Young with additional results from Douglas Barbour, Cavan McCarthy & John Pepper. Membrane Press, 1 Jun 1979 , softcover, 46 pages.




May 27th 1975 en route from London England to Toronto with Gerry Gilbert (we'd both been at the 8th International Sound Poetry Festival) in a mood of dissatisfaction re certain aspects of my writing (always the feeling there is more one should be learning - more limitations one should be pushing against & breaking down) i began this present series. In my mind was the idea of a pure bit of research one in which the creativity would be entirely at the level of the research, of formal inventiveness, and not at the level of content per se i.e. i recalled the first poem i had ever had published -- Translating Apollnaire in Bill Bissett's BLEW OINTMENT magazine circa 1964 (i'd written the poem in summer 1963 during my first period in Toronto) - & decided to put that poem thru as many translation/ transformation processes as i & other people could think of. I conceived of it as an openended, probably unpublishable in its entirety, piece. As of this date (August 29, 1978) i have elaborated 55 different systems & or results with TTA 16, 26, 27, 29, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 40, 41, 50, 54, 55 & some other tentative ideas still not fully executed. But it seemed a good point in time, particularly when Karl Young expressed his enthusiasm & support, to issue a preliminary report on discoveries made in terms of the results arrived at. Thus this present selection from the inevitably titled TRANSLATING TRANSLATING APOLLINAIRE.

The pieces included here begin with the three memory translations written over the atlantic ocean on May 27th. TTA 4 is the original poem as published in 1964 & all the pieces that follow are based on TTA 4. The title of the original poem comes from the fact that i was, during its writing, translating Apollinaire & the line "soleil cou coupe" comes from his poem, ZONE, the one i was working on. TTA 31 (unpublished here) includes elements from my 1963 translation.

In choosing the pieces for this preliminary report we excluded all the unfinished ones except TTA 29. We excluded those that were overly long (TTA 20, 21, 22 & 52) as well as the systems that were in any case summarized in TTA 51. TTA 23, 24 & 25 depended for their understanding on a familiarity with unpublished essays from my PROBABLE SYSTEMS series, & TTA 34 upon a knowledge of my NEGATIVES series, & could not be included here without extensive notes that would've made the size of the book unwieldy.

Hence, roughly speaking, this preliminary report. Other reports will be issued from time to time over the years as pieces are finished &/or opportunities to publish them become available. I'd like to particularly thank the writers included in TTA 29 for contributing their research results & both the three writers included in TTA, & the 24 not included here, that participated in the tests that form the basis for TTA 20 & 21. Any writer who wishes to submit a version of TTA 4 for inclusion in TTA 29 is invited to do so & can reach me c/o Membrane Press.




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