Talking to Clara Janés
Karlos del Olmo


On December 3, 2010 in Oiartzun (Gipuzkoa, Basque Country) some of us EIZIE members got together with the poet and translator Clara Janés to present to her the commented facsimile edition of her book Emblemas translated into Basque by J. M. Lekuona. This article is the transcription -once it had been revised and translated into Basque- of the dialogue between Clara and the editor of this journal during an after-lunch conversation following a delightful meal. It is in fact a fascinating lesson on translating poetry given by an acclaimed poet and translator; it reveals a path that is both beautiful and difficult in equal measure, and which has been opened up by a forerunner. The subsequent book presentation and tribute paid to Lekuona have by now been added to the history of Basque literature and translating. To explain what translating poetry is about, it is worth quoting a passage from the poem by Rumi in the work Rubaiyat translated by Clara into Spanish: "I have matured and come into leaf in each taking in of breath./ From one step to the next I have been a trap, I have been a seed." And later on, "Of me only my name remains, and everything is that."