Irish Women and the Cultural Present
Chapter 8: Medbh McGuckian and Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill:Collaboration in Translation 159
Chapter 8 Medbh McGuckian and Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill: Collaboration in Translation Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill’s first dual-language edition of poetry, Selected Poems/ Rogha Dánta, translated by Michael Hartnett, appeared in 1988. Since then she has published three dual-language collections of poetry: Pharaoh’s Daughter (1990), The Astrakhan Cloak (1992), with translations by eminent poet Paul Muldoon, and The Water Horse (1999), translated by successful contemporary women writers Medbh McGuckian and Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin. This chapter focuses on the second of her dual-language editions, Pharaoh’s Daughter because it was the first one to include female translators. The poems translated by McGuckian not only highlight McGuckian’s desire to make connections with the Irish language, but also Ní Dhomhnaill’s desire to reach out to the linguistically disenfranchised. A reading of the opening poem ‘Geasa’ in conjunction with the closing poem ‘Ceist na Teangan’ illustrates that translation can of fer a remedy to such disenfran- chisement. The language used in these poems gestures towards a shared, feminine heritage. Both poets’ work, as we have seen, is particularly suited to this notion of ‘sharing’ or borrowing of ideas, texts and words from other people, languages and cultures. Two rivers Due to the success of Pharaoh’s Daughter and The Water Horse, Ní Dhomhnaill’s readership has expanded to include a great number of English-language readers who were previously unfamiliar with her Irish- 160 Chapter 8 language poetry. The dual-language format ensures that each Irish poem is accompanied by an English translation on the opposite page. Such...
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