Friday, June 5, 2009

Sylvia Path Interview with Peter Orr in 1962

西尔维亚•普拉斯访谈
      Sylvia Path Interview with Peter Orr in 1962
       
ORR: Sylvia, what started you writing poetry?
PLATH: I don't know what started me, I just wrote it from the time was quite small. I guess I liked nursery rhymes and I guess I thought I could do the same thing. I wrote my first poem, my first published poem, when I was eight-and-a-half years old. It came out in The Boston Traveller and from then on, I suppose, I've been a bit of a professional.
沃尔:西尔维亚,是什么触发你写诗的?
普拉斯:我倒是不知道什么触发我的,我只是从很小的时候就开始写了。我想我打小喜欢童谣,又觉得我能够作出同样的东西。我写了我的第一首诗,第一首发表的诗歌时,我才八岁半。那首诗登在《波斯顿旅行者报》上,自那以后,我觉得我就多少算个职业性的了。

ORR: What sort of thing did you write about when you began?
PLATH: Nature, I think: birds, bees, spring, fall, all those subjects which are absolute gifts to the person who doesn't have any interior experience to write about. I think the coming of spring, the stars overhead, the first snowfall and so on are gifts for a child, a young poet.
沃尔:你开始写的时候都写些什么?
普拉斯:我想是大自然吧:鸟啦、蜜蜂啦、春去秋来等等,一个没有任何内在经历可写的人所具有的天赋主题。我想,春天的来临、头顶的星星、初雪飘落等等是儿童、年轻诗人的天赋题材吧。

ORR: Now, jumping the years, can you say, are there any themes which particularly attract you as a poet, things that you feel you would like to write about?
PLATH: Perhaps this is an American thing: I've been very excited by what I feel is the new breakthrough that came with, say, Robert Lowell's Life Studies, this intense breakthrough into very serious, very personal, emotional experience which I feel has been partly taboo. Robert Lowell's poems about his experience in a mental hospital, for example, interested me very much. These peculiar, private and taboo subjects, I feel, have been explored in recent American poetry. I think particularly the poetess Ann Sexton, who writes about her experiences as a mother, as a mother who has had a nervous breakdown, is an extremely emotional and feeling young woman and her poems are wonderfully craftsman4ike poems and yet they have a kind of emotional and psychological depth which I think is something perhaps quite new, quite exciting.
沃尔:现在,时隔这么多年,你可以说出有什么主题特别吸引你、是你喜欢写的吗?
普拉斯:也许这是一个美国式的主题:我对于我所感到的新突破非常兴奋,这种新突破可说是罗伯特•洛威尔的《人生研究》带来的;这种强有力的突破进入了非常严肃、非常个人化的情感经验,这是我过去一直觉得是有些禁忌的。罗伯特•洛威尔关于他自己的经历,如在精神病院,令我非常感兴趣。我感到,这些特殊的、隐私的、禁忌的主题已经在最近的美国诗歌中得到挖掘。我特别想到女诗人安妮塞克斯顿,她抒写她作为一个经历过精神崩溃的母亲的经历,她是一个极具情感的敏感女人,她的诗具有令人赞叹的专业性,但却具有一种感情的心理的深度。我认为这是某种十分新、十分令人兴奋的东西。

ORR: Now you, as a poet, and as a person who straddles the Atlantic, if I can put it that way, being an American yourself...
PLATH: That's a rather awkward position, but I'll accept it!
沃尔:如今你,作为一个诗人,又是一个美国人,而且脚跨大西洋(如果我可以这么说的话)……
普拉斯:这确实是一个挺怪的位置,但是我接受!

ORR: ... on which side does your weight fall, if I can pursue the metaphor?
PLATH: Well, I think that as far as language goes I'm an American, I'm afraid, my accent is American, my way of talk is an American way of talk, I'm an old-fashioned American. That's probably one of the reasons why I'm in England now and why I'll always stay in England. I'm about fifty years behind as far as my preferences go and I must say that the poets who excite me most are the Americans. There are very few contemporary English poets that I admire.
沃尔:……你的重量向哪边倾斜呢(如果我继续套用这样的比喻)?
普拉斯:我觉得吧,从语言角度讲我是美国人,恐怕得说,我的口音是美国的,我的说话方式是美国的,这也许是我之所以现在身居英国而且将会一直在英国呆下去的原因吧。我比自己所愿望要走的路要落后大概五十年,而且我得说最能激发我的诗人都是美国人。很少有几个当代英国诗人能令我崇敬的。

ORR: Does this mean that you think contemporary English poetry is behind the times compared with American?
PLATH: No, I think it is in a bit of a strait-jacket, if I may say so. There was an essay by Alvarez, the British critic: his arguments about the dangers of gentility in England are very pertinent, very true. I must say that I am not very genteel and I feel that gentility has a stranglehold: the neatness, the wonderful tidiness, which is so evident everywhere in England is perhaps more dangerous than it would appear on the surface.
沃尔:这是否意味着你认为当代英国诗歌比美国落后于时代呢?
普拉斯:不是,我认为这可以说是有点禁锢之故吧。英国评论家阿尔弗雷兹写过一篇文章:他关于英国的温雅的危险很是中肯、忠实。我得说我不是那么温文尔雅的,我还觉得温雅有一种扼制人的力量:那种整洁、那种令人惊异的有条不紊,在英国随处都显而易见,这也许比表面上所能显示出来的更加危险。

ORR: But don't you think, too, that there is this business of English poets who are labouring under the whole weight of something which in block capitals is called 'English Literature'?
PLATH: Yes, I couldn't agree more. I know when I was at Cambridge this appeared to me. Young women would come up to me and say 'How do you dare to write, how do you dare to publish a poem, because of the criticism, the terrible criticism, that falls upon one if one does publish?' And the criticism is not of the poem as poem. I remember being appalled when someone criticised me for beginning just like John Donne, but not quite managing to finish like John Donne, and I first felt the full weight of English Literature on me at that point. I think the whole emphasis in England, in universities, on practical criticism (but not that so much as on historical criticism, knowing what period a line comes from) this is almost paralysing. In America, in University, we read - what? - T. S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, Yeats, that is where we began. Shakespeare flaunted in the background. I'm not sure I agree with this, but I think that' for the young poet, the writing poet, it is not quite so frightening to go to university in America as it is in England, for these reasons.
沃尔:但是难道你不认为英国诗人目前的所作所为也是在大写的英语文学下进行的艰苦劳作吗?
普拉斯:当然,我完全同意。我在剑桥的时候我就感觉到了。有些年轻女士会走来对我说“你怎么敢写?你怎么敢于发表?因为你一旦发表就会有批评之声、就会有可怕的批评落到你的头上。”而这批评并不是把一首诗当作诗来批评。我记得有人批评我一首诗开头倒是像邓约翰,却没能像邓约翰那样结束,我大感惊愕,那时刻我第一次感到英语文学的全副重量压在我的身上。我想,在英国、在大学对实用批评的强调(但还不至于像强调解历史批评那样,历史批评使人能了解一个阶段的历史发展线索),几乎令人智力瘫痪。在美国、在大学,我们研读些什么?——T.S.艾略特,迪伦•托马斯,叶芝,我们就从这儿开始。莎士比亚只是在背景上荣光闪闪。我不知道是否该同意这种说法,但是我认为对于年轻诗人、正在写作的诗人来说,鉴于这些原因,在美国上大学就不像在英国上大学那么可怕。

ORR: You say, Sylvia, that you consider yourself an American, but when we listen to a poem like 'Daddy', which talks about Dachau and Auschwitz and Mein Kampf, I have the impression that this is the sort of poem that a real American could not have written, because it doesn't mean so much, these names do not mean so much, on the other side of the Atlantic, do they?
PLATH: Well now, you are talking to me as a general American. In particular, my background is, may I say, German and Austrian. On one side I am a first generation American, on one side I'm second generation American, and so my concern with concentration camps and so on is uniquely intense. And then, again, I'm rather a political person as well, so I suppose that's what part of it comes from.
沃尔:西尔维亚,你说你认为自己是美国人,但是我们听你的诗,如《老爸》,它谈到达豪以及奥斯威辛和《我的奋斗》,我的感觉是,这样的诗是一个真正的美国人不可能写得出来的,因为在大西洋彼岸,这种事并不意味着什么,这些名字也无多大意义,是吧?
普拉斯:你呢,现在这样讲是把我当作一名一般的美国人。我的特别之处在于,我的背景可说是德国和奥地利的。从一方面讲,我是来美国生的第一代,从另一方面看,我是来美国生的第二代,所以我对集中营等事件的强烈关注是与众不同的。再说,我还是一个蛮政治化的人,所以我估计这也是之所以如此的部分原因吧。

ORR: And as a poet, do you have a great and keen sense of the historic?
PLATH:I am not a historian, but I find myself being more and more fascinated by history and now I find myself reading more and more about history. I am very interested in Napoleon, at the present: I'm very interested in battles, in wars, in Gallipoli, the First World War and so on, and I think that as I age I am becoming more and more historical. I certainly wasn't at all in my early twenties.
沃尔:作为一名诗人,你对历史性是否具有一种强烈敏锐的感觉?
普拉斯:我不是一个历史学者,但是我发现自己越来越对历史着迷,现在读了越来越多得历史著述。目前,我对拿破仑特别有兴趣:我对战役、战争、一战等等很感兴趣,并且我觉得随着我逐渐上年纪我会越来越有历史感。当然我二十几岁时绝不是这样的。

ORR: Do your poems tend now to come out of books rather than out of your own life?
PLATH: No, no : I would not say that at all. I think my poems immediately come out of the sensuous and emotional experiences I have, but I must say I cannot sympathise with these cries from the heart that are informed by nothing except a needle or a knife, or whatever it is. I believe that one should be able to control and manipulate experiences, even the most terrific, like madness, being tortured, this sort of experience, and one should be able to manipulate these experiences with an informed and an intelligent mini I think that personal experience is very important, but certainly it shouldn't be a kind of shut-box and mirror looking, narcissistic experience. I believe it should be relevant, and relevant to the larger things, the bigger things such as Hiroshima and Dachau and so on.
沃尔:你现在的诗倾向于来源于书本还是来自你的个人生活?
普拉斯:不,不:我绝对不会这么说。我想我的诗直接来自我感官与情感的经验,但是我必须说,对于一根针或一把刀或任何这类东西所激发的心底的呼唤,我是不能与之共鸣的。我相信一个人应该能够控制并支配经验,甚至是最为可怕的经验如疯狂、被折磨这类经验,而且一个人应当能够以一种明察聪颖之心支配这些经验。我认为个人经验是非常重要的,但是它当然不该变成一种封闭的盒子或揽镜自顾的自恋经验。我相信它应该是有相关性的,与更大的事件相关,与广岛以及达豪等等大事相关。

ORR: And so, behind the primitive, emotional reaction there must be an intellectual discipline.
PLATH: I feel that very strongly: having been an academic, having been tempted by the invitation to stay on to become a Ph.D., a professor, and all that, one side of me certainly does respect all disciplines, as long as they don't ossify.
沃尔:所以在原始的情感的反映背后必须有一种理性的学科规范。
普拉斯:我强烈地感到这一点:我曾是一个学术中人、曾经犹豫是否继续在学界做下去拿一个博士、教授等头衔,我的一个侧面当然尊重所有的学科规范,只要它们不僵化。

ORR: What about writers who have influenced you, who have meant a lot to you?
PLATH: There were very few. I find it hard to trace them really. When I was at College I was stunned and astounded by the moderns, by Dylan Thomas, by Yeats, by Auden even: at one point I was absolutely wild for Auden and everything I wrote was desperately Audenesque. Now I again begin to go backwards, I begin to look to Blake, for example. And then, of course, it is presumptuous to say that one is influenced by someone like Shakespeare: one reads Shakespeare, and that is that.
沃尔:谈谈影响你的作家、对你意义重大的作家如何?
普拉斯:很少。我发现很难真正地逐一找出来。在大学时,现代派作家、迪伦•托马斯、叶芝甚至奥顿都曾令我目瞪口呆、击节叹赏:有一段时间我对奥顿绝对疯狂,那时我写的一切都无可救药地具有奥顿之风。现在我再次往回走,例如,我开始关注布莱克。另外,当然了,如果有人说受到像莎士比亚这样的人物影响,就有点不知天高地厚了:人们研读莎士比亚,如此而已。

ORR: Sylvia, one notices in reading your poems and listening to your poems that there are two qualities which emerge very quickly and clearly; one is their lucidity (and I think these two qualities have something to do one with the other), their lucidity and the impact they make on reading. Now, do you consciously design your poems to be both lucid and to be effective when they are read aloud?
PLATH: This is something I didn't do in my earlier poems. For example, my first book, The Colossus, I can't read any of the poems aloud now. I didn't write them to be read aloud. They, in fact, quite privately, bore me. These ones that I have just read, the ones that are very recent, I've got to say them, I speak them to myself, and I think that this in my own writing development is quite a new thing with me, and whatever lucidity they may have comes from the fact that I say them to myself, I say them aloud.
沃尔:西尔维亚,在阅读你的诗歌以及听你朗诵诗歌时可以发现两种特质,很快、很清晰地呈现出来;其一是它们的明晰易懂(我认为这两种特质彼此相辅相成),它们的明晰性以及对于朗读所带来的影响。你现在是否在写诗时有意识地使它们既明晰易懂又能在朗诵时产生实效?
普拉斯:这是我早期诗歌中没有做到的。例如,我的第一本诗集《巨像》,我现在连一首诗都朗读不出来。我当时不是为了朗读而写的。事实上,私下地讲,它们令我生厌。我刚刚朗读的这些诗,都是些新作,我必须朗读它们,读给我自己听;我也认为这是我写作发展过程中所出现的一种新东西,无论它们具有怎样的明晰性都源于这一事实:我读给自己听,我大声朗读它们。

ORR: Do you think this is an essential ingredient of a good poem, that it should be able to be read aloud effectively?
PLATH: Well, I do feel that now and I feel that this development of recording poems, of speaking poems at readings, of having records of poets, I think this is a wonderful thing. I'm very excited by it. In a sense, there's a return, isn't there, to the old role of the poet, which was to speak to a group of people, to come across.
沃尔:你是否认为能在朗读中产生实效,是一首好诗不可或缺的成分?
普拉斯:现在呢,我确实感到了这一点,我觉得现在这种发展,录制诗歌、朗读诗歌、给诗人出录音唱片,我觉得这是一件很棒的事。我很振奋。从某种意义上来说,这是一种回潮,不是吗?回到了诗人的古老角色,也就是向一群人诉说、传达。

ORR: Or to sing to a group?
PLATH: To sing to a group of people, exactly.
沃尔:或者说向一群人吟唱?
普拉斯:没错,向一群人吟唱。

ORR: Setting aside poetry for a moment, are there other things you would like to write, or that you have written?
PLATH: Well, I always was interested in prose. As a teenager, I published short stories. And I always wanted to write the long short story, I wanted to write a novel. Now that I have attained, shall I say, a respectable age, and have had experiences, I feel much more interested in prose, in the novel. I feel that in a novel, for example, you can get in toothbrushes and all the paraphernalia that one finds in dally life, and I find this more difficult in poetry. Poetry, I feel, is a tyrannical discipline, you've got to go so far, so fast, in such a small space that you've just got to turn away all the peripherals. And I miss them! I'm a woman, I like my little Lares and Penates, I like trivia, and I find that in a novel I can get more of life, perhaps not such intense life, but certainly more of life, and so I've become very interested in novel writing as a result.
沃尔:先撇下诗歌不谈,你还想写或者已经写了什么题材?
普拉斯:我呢,一直对散文很有兴趣。十几岁时,我发表了一些短篇小说。我一直想写长一些的故事,想写一部长篇。现在我可以说自己已达到算是成熟的年纪了,也获得了一些经验,我觉得对散文、长篇小说的兴趣更加浓厚。我觉得在小说中,例如,你可以将牙刷之类在日常生活中常见的所有小什件放进去,这在诗歌中就很难。我觉得诗是一种专横的规范,你得在那么一个小的空间中深入那么远,你必须牺牲掉所有的边角材料。而我丢不下它们!我是一个女人,我喜欢我的小财神灶神们,我喜欢琐碎小事;我发现在小说中我可以放进去更多生活,也许不是那么激越的生活,但肯定是更多的生活,所以结果是我对小说非常有兴趣。

ORR: This is almost a Dr. Johnson sort of view, isn't it? What was it he said, 'There are some things that are fit for inclusion in poetry and others which are not'?
PLATH: Well, of course, as a poet I would say pouf! I would say everything should be able to come into a poem, but I can't put toothbrushes into a poem, I really can't!
沃尔:这可说与约翰逊博士的观点如出一辙了。他怎么说来着?“有些事情可以入诗而有些则不可”?
普拉斯:当然,作为诗人,我会说“废话!”我会说一切东西都可以入诗,但是我不能把牙刷写进诗里吧,我真的做不到!

ORR: Do you find yourself much in the company of other writers, of poets?
PLATH: I much prefer doctors, midwives, lawyers, anything but writers. I think writers and artists are the most narcissistic people. I mustn't say this, I like many of them, in fact a great many of my friends happen to be writers and artists. But I must say what I admire most is the person who masters an area of practical experience, and can teach me something. I mean, my local midwife has taught me how to keep bees. Well, she can't understand anything I write. And I find myself liking her, may I say, more than most poets. And among my friends I find people who know all about boats or know all about certain sports, or how to cut somebody open and remove an organ. I'm fascinated by this mastery of the practical. As a poet, one lives a bit on air. I always like someone who can teach me something practical.
沃尔:你是否常常与其他作家、诗人同进共出?
普拉斯:我更喜欢与医生、接生婆、律师们来往,只要不是作家就行。我认为作家和艺术家都是些最自恋的人。我不该这样说,我喜欢的人有很多做这行,事实上我有许多朋友刚好是作家、艺术家。但我必须说我最钦佩的人是那种掌握某个领域的实用经验的人,是那种能够教给我某种技能的人。我的意思是,我住的地方有个产婆教会我如何养蜂。而她对我写的东西一窍不通。可我发现我很喜欢她,可说是胜过我喜欢绝大部分诗人。在我的朋友中,有的人对于船只头头是道,有的对某些体育运动无所不知,有的对如何切开一个人体除掉一个器官手到擒来。对这种实用技能的得心应手我使心折神服。作为诗人,所过的生活有点悬在半空中。我一直喜欢能教某种实用技能的人。

ORR: Is there anything else you would rather have done than writing poetry? Because this is something, obviously, which takes up a great deal of one's private life, if one's going to succeed at it. Do you ever have any lingering regrets that you didn't do something else?
PLATH: I think if I had done anything else I would like to have been a doctor. This is the sort of polar opposition to being a writer, I suppose. My best friends when I was young were always doctors. I used to dress up in a white gauze helmet and go round and see babies born and cadavers cut open. This fascinated me, but I could never bring myself to disciplining myself to the point where I could learn all the details that one has to learn to be a good doctor. This is the sort of opposition: somebody who deals directly with human experiences, is able to cure, to mend, to help, this sort of thing. I suppose if I have any nostalgias it's this, but I console myself because I know so many doctors. And I may say, perhaps, I'm happier writing about doctors than I would have been being one.
沃尔:有没有什么事情是你比写诗更愿意做的呢?因为这显然是件耗费一个人很多私人生活的事儿,要是她想成功的话。你是否有某种行业没能做,所以有些遗憾不时浮现?
普拉斯:我想如果要我做其它哪一行,我愿意做医生。恐怕这是与作家南辕北辙的一种行业。我年轻时最好的朋友都是些医生。我曾时常穿上白大褂,全身罩好,到处走,看孩子出世,看尸体解剖。这一切令我着迷,但是我总是不能给自己上规矩,学会所有细节以便成为一个出色的医生。这是一种鱼与熊掌的对立:某个能直接面对人类经验的人,能够治疗、修补、帮助,就是这等事。我想,要说我有什么念念不忘的事,就该是这个了,但是我自我安慰说自己认识许多医生。也许我可以说,我写医生比我当医生更感到快意一些。

ORR: But basically this thing, the writing of poetry, is something which has been a great satisfaction to you in your life, is it?
PLATH: Oh, satisfaction! I don't think I could live without it. It's like water or bread, or something absolutely essential to me. I find myself absolutely fulfilled when I have written a poem, when I'm writing one. Having written one, then you fall away very rapidly from having been a poet to becoming a sort of poet in rest, which isn't the same thing at all. But I think the actual experience of writing a poem is a magnificent one.
沃尔:但是从根本上说,写诗这样的事给你的生活带来一份很大的满足感,不是吗?
普拉斯:哦,满足!不写诗我恐怕没法活下去。它对我就好像面包与水,或者某种绝对本质的东西。当我写好了一首诗、当我正在写一首诗的时候,我感到自己绝对充盈。完成一首诗后,你便会从一个诗人的状态急速下滑成诗人的休息状态,这是完全不同的状态。但我还是认为写诗的实际经验是一种妙不可言的经验。

     译自The Poet Speaks: Interviews with Contemporary Poets
                    London: Routledge (1966)
译按:这次访谈是普拉斯给BBC录她的最新作品后进行的。当时录的诗包括:捕兔器(The Rabbit Catcher)、精灵爱丽儿(Ariel)、十月的罂粟花(Poppies in October)、申请人(The Applicant)、女拉撒路(Lady Lazarus)、秘密(A Secret)、割伤(Cut)、未遂之死(Stopped Dead)、尼克与烛台(Nick and the Candlestick)、水母美杜莎(Medusa)、深闺(Purdah)、生日礼物(A Birthday Present)、遗忘病患(Amnesiac)、老爸(Daddy)、高烧103度(Fever 103°)。

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