It makes me grumpy when poetry translations are presented without the original language beside it. I had a male friend in college who, when he talked with me at parties, would spend most of the time looking over my shoulder for better looking women. I feel like that’s what I’m doing to the translator. Only, I feel guilty about it. Because I know the translator has labored over every choice, every word, syntax, rhythm, rhyme or lack thereof. But even if it’s in a language I have no hope of reading, I like to pore over the original, to identify word patterns or character repetitions. I like to see the original shape. I like to switch back and forth between the original and the translation and try to get a glimpse into the translator’s brain. Without the original text, I’m just stuck with what the translator has offered me. I guess I should just accept the translator’s creation, savor its tastes, and stop looking for the list of ingredients.