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Transom:
Where do you believe your poem may fit within the long history of translation that surrounds “Whoso List to Hunt”?

Adey-Babinski:
I see my poem is a very loose, contemporary translation of “Whoso List to Hunt.” I was attempting to address issues around the hunt for the unattainable, and the obsessive cyclone of unrequited love which I saw in the original. However, unlike the love of Wyatt’s time (can I call it courtly love if it was the Tudor era?), I am dealing with “Friend with Benefits,” a present-day construction that I don’t think existed in Petrarch or Wyatt’s time. I aimed to capture the frustration of a failed ‘hunt’ for love as a Canadian woman in her 20’s might experience it in the early 2000s.

Transom:
Imagine a teacher of Italian reading your poem and then going back to the original. What aspects of your translation would most annoy that teacher? In other words, where and why were you most deviant as a translator?

Adey-Babinski:
This is a very deviant translation. It is a bad, bad boy. I did not follow the original word for word, and so a speaker of Italian would probably not even recognize this as a true translation of Petrarch’s original. Instead, I’m dealing with what I see as analogous concepts about love and the Beloved.
 
Perhaps an Italian teacher would object to my crass title, which even I cringe at, but which I’ve decided to keep at the editors’ encouragement!
 
A teacher might also object to the fact that I’ve unmasked Petrarch’s Doe metaphor, and made the Doe a human character in my poem, which, from reading your next question, was somewhat ambiguously translated. I discuss below where I was trying to place the Doe/Beloved in my version. Petrarch’s Doe belongs to the Caesar, and that is why it is unattainable and that much more attractive. My Doe/Beloved belongs only to himself, no higher power is keeping the Beloved from the speaker and he is attractive because of how distant he is with the speaker. This difference might also peeve a precise instructor.
 
And my worst insult? I made the speaker in my translation a woman and the Beloved a man, which is the opposite of what Petrarch and Wyatt did. I don’t think an Italian teacher would put up with my version of events!

Transom:
We read your sonnet as a potentially provocative rejoinder to Petrarch’s “Whoso List to Hunt,” in the sense that the speaker appears to operate from the position of the “beloved.” We are tempted to read this voice as more empowered than that of Petrarch’s silent “deer” but lines like “I think you woke up and left” make us question that supposition. What were the obsessions in Wyatt and Petrarch that you were reacting to?

Adey-Babinski:
Although I wasn’t thinking specifically about agency when I was writing, now that I look back at “What Makes You Think You’ll Get It In,” it is full of issues of power.  Unfortunately, I can’t attribute as much power to the speaker as you propose. I would say that the speaker is operating from the position of the Unbeloved, which, as those of us who have been obsessed with unrequited love know, is a very frustrating and powerless place from which to operate.
 
I meant for the Hunter/ Unbeloved in this to be the speaker. The ‘you’ occupies the position of the Beloved, but the Beloved is also a kind of hunter. The Beloved seeks physical union (sex) from the speaker. Therein lies the ultimate insult. In the end, the Beloved is not even interested enough to make the minimal effort required to obtain sex from the speaker, even though the speaker is making herself available to him. This is also the reason that I don’t see the speaker operating in the position of the Beloved. The speaker is desired only physically, and just barely, whereas the desire I read in Wyatt and Petrarch was about more than the physical—it was about emotional and spiritual union as well—which the speaker desires of the Beloved "you."
 
Dealing with this double-Hunter situation, in which both parties are hunting for different things, and are both left unsatisfied, I was hoping to have my poem resonate with the ideas that I read in Wyatt and Petrarch: the bitter-sweetness of wanting what you can’t have, and yet continuing to pursue what is, quite obviously to most spectators and perhaps even the speaker, a self-destructive impulse. I think that humans get addicted to the sweetness of that dull ache of impossible desire, and I wrote this, in some ways, to acknowledge that we’ve been torturing ourselves in this way for centuries, and that we will most likely continue to do so for centuries to come.