Victor Ortiz – old pond poems


Artist statement for his old pond poems

Victor Ortiz writes:

These poems are variations of Basho’s “old pond – furuike” based on the ELH translation by Higginson. I chose this poem because it is so well known and influential. While I could say much as to my purpose I will only say that no “translation” is final and that, as Caroline Bergvall has written, “One is not one self. One has not one self. One’s speech is that of others….The authorial voice multiplies its effects by explicitly acting as an empty intermediary, a ventriloquist, a mockingbird. But his bird distorts and misuses. It imagines the one-to-one as friction, not an equation.” (I’ll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing by Women, eds, Caroline Bergvall, Laynie Browne, Teresa Carmody, Vanessa Place, 2012), p.18.

Source: furuike ya kawazu tobikomu mizu no oto (Basho); old pond … / a frog leaps in / water’s sound (trans. William J. Higginson); techniques: synesthesia, lipogram, homophonic translation, N+7, cut-up.