“To cheer you up in the practice of your profession,” John Cowan sent me a link to Stet, a collection of intemperate responses by authors to publishers who have committed editing outrages, e.g.:
In all the proof that has reached me, windrow has been spelled window. If, in the bound book, windrow still appears as window, then neither rain nor hail nor gloom of night nor fleets of riot squads will prevent me from assassinating the man who is responsible. If the coward hides behind my finding, I shall step into Scribner’s and merely shoot up the place Southern style.” — American author Gordon Dorrance (1890-1957), note to his publishers
It did indeed cheer me up, and in browsing around Futility Closet (which I should visit more often) I found (in the Language category) An Untranslatable Poem, about a six-word Portuguese poem by Cassiano Ricardo called “Serenata sintética” that “is so embedded in its language that García Yebra found himself unable to convey it in another tongue”:
“In this short poem, phonemic form is everything,” write Basil Hatim and Ian Mason in Discourse and the Translator. “The words themselves are evocative: a small town with ‘winding streets’ (rua torta), a ‘fading moon’ (lua morta) and the hint of an amorous affair: ‘your door’ (tua porta). But their impact is achieved almost solely through the close rhyme and rhythm; the meaning is raised from the level of the banal by dint of exploiting features which are indissociable from the Portuguese language as a code.
“García Yebra relates that he gave up the attempt to translate the poem even into Spanish, a language which shares certain phonological features with Portuguese.”