A New Form for Translation

David Varno takes a close look at If I Were Born in Prague and The Other Music at Words without Borders:

With both of these chapbooks, it is thrilling to look at the original lines and then back to the translation, a practice that can be exhausting with a longer book, usually leading non-academics to give up and rely solely on the translation (assuming the original is even available). Here in Argos’s chapbooks, the new or revised lines rise up from the surface of the page in a new dimension, allowing us to trace the translators’ work as writers. Having one of these books in hand, mentally charting its landscape, makes it hard to doubt the argument for old-fashioned reading. The book can and should be an object of art in its own right. As with all of the projects from Argos so far, some of which are hand- stamped or sewn, much care was put into their production.