Eric Selland is a poet and translator living on the outskirts of Tokyo. Selland has translated a total of seven volumes of poetry by contemporary Japanese poets. He has also published articles on Japanese Modernist poetry and translation theory. He is the author of Beethoven’s Dream (Isobar Press, 2015), Arc Tangent (Isobar Press, 2013), Still Lifes (Hank’s Original Loose Gravel Press, 2012), The Condition of Music (Sink Press, 2000), and an essay in The Poem Behind the Poem: Translating Asian Poetry (Copper Canyon Press, 2004). Selland’s translations of Inagawa Masato and Matsuura Hisaki are included in the Oakland University Anthology of Younger Japanese Poets (Katydid Press, 1992). His translation of The Guest Cat, a novel by Takashi Hiraide (New Directions Books) was on the New York Times bestseller list.
The reason that translation is possible at all is because you can say anything in any language, just not with the same words as in the original. Most often, reliance on so called linguistic equivalencies produces bad translation. What I will do is argue for the freedom of the...