Ruins invite speculation by invoking memory and creating a relationship between the spectator and the object: we imagine the structure that existed, and it is the context of imagining what it was that valorises. It is speculation, which is to say the formulation of an unstable narrative, brought to the page, rendered public, that distinguishes a stack of abandoned bricks from an old fortress. I want to think about ruins in poetry — the words of others as they enter our own writing, the places we imagined ourselves inside, the way translation, itself, destroys in order to create based on a theory, a personal valorisation. I want to narrow the distance between wandering through ruins and diving into the wreck. What is an accident given hindsight? What is time given the assumption of presence that haunts the ruin? And how to begin an essay that excavates, and ruins, its own premise?
Spaces and Traces in Self-Translation