ANA BLANDIANA AND HÖLDERLIN’S ETERNAL QUESTION by Viorica Patea, and THREE POEMS BY ANA BLANDIANA, translated and with a translators’ preface by Paul Scott Derrick and Viorica Patea. Patea gives an introduction into the importance of Romanian poet Blandiana’s work as well as offering an overview of her influences, in particular German Romantic poet Friedrich Hölderlin, with whom Blandiana shares “a sense of belatedness, a ‘metaphysical sadness’ […] in a world in which gods are absent and the lyric ‘I’ longs for their return.”
In the preface to their three translated poems, Derrick and Patea explain the process of translating in collaboration involving poets and translators with a variety of mother tongues. The chosen poems are taken from two collections, The Sun of Hereafter (2000) and Ebb of the Senses (2004), and offer a showcase of a selection to be published next year by Bloodaxe in one volume.
AN INTRODUCTION TO THE WORK OF FLEMISH MODERNIST PAUL VAN OSTAIJEN and SELECTED POEMS BY PAUL VAN OSTAIJEN Hannah Van Hove gives an introduction to the work of Belgian Modernist Paul van Ostaijen, accompanied by a selection of his poetry in translation. “Paul van Ostaijen (1896-1928) has justly been hailed as one of the greatest innovators and experimenters in Dutch literature. During his short but prolific literary career (he was only thirty-two at the time of his death), he continually sought to question pre-conceived ideas regarding the role of poetry and art, engaging with various early twentieth-century avant-garde movements in order to stretch the boundaries of conventional literary form. Known primarily as a poet, he also wrote satirical prose pieces, a film-script, some translations of Kafka and numerous important articles on art – all of which have contributed to his deserved reputation as Belgium’s “prophet of modernism.””
LILAC CANOPIES, STAR-LIKE APPLES AND RAKIA: Liliya Aleksandrova translates Antina Zlatkova from Bulgarian and German. Aleksandrova offers her translations of three/six poems by Bulgarian-born Zlatkova, resident in Vienna, in Bulgarian and German. While the poems can be grouped in pairs of two, bearing near-identical titles, they are versions of each other. In her preface, Aleksandrova therefore remarks on the nature of bilingual poetry: “The German is by no means a literal translation of the Bulgarian. The verses, for that matter, do not always correspond. It could equally be that the Bulgarian is a retelling of a story first crafted in German. Or that both versions are expressions of the same thought, one that has found a home in different words.”
ONE-HANDED: A NOTE ON THE POSSIBILITIES OF GOOGLE TRANSLATE AS A TOOL FOR POETRY. One-Handed was devised by Juana Adcock and Rahul Bery as an experimental translation project that paired Mexican and Scottish poets together. Rather than simply translating each other, as occurs in other projects pairing poets of different nationalities and languages, in One-Handed we followed a slightly more complicated formula: the Mexican poets re-wrote a source text in Spanish taken from the poetry collection Manca by Juana Adcock (Fondo Editorial Tierra Adentro, 2014). The resulting text was then both translated into English by a literary translator, and fed through Google Translate and sent to a Scottish poet, who used this “literal version” to produce their own translation of the poem. The source texts by Juana Adcock have been lost, decaying and falling away like a perishable item cast in plaster. Or alternatively, they can be found in the pages of the above-cited book. The focus of the One-Handed project is on the process of writing as translation and vice-versa. In this issue, we present two pairings: one by Óscar David López, in translations by translator Kymm Coveney and poet Kate Tough, and another by Rocío Cerón, translated by Ruth Clarke and poet Lila Matsumoto.
SLATE, METAPHOR AND TRANSLATION: Alistair Noon translates Osip Mandelstam from Russian. Noon’s translation ‘The Ode on Slate’ is accompanied by an introduction on his work as translator, asserting: “True, many of those seams of reference and reworking, particularly the ones that lead all the way back to Russia, are blocked off in the translation, or if they are open, few readers will venture down them. But the view of poetry’s ultimate untranslatability only really holds if you also conceive of poems in general as having finite meaning, interest and effect.”