Friday, October 7, 2011

Translation Comes to Seattle

Next month, Wave Books will hold its second annual “3 Days of Poetry” festival at the Henry Art Gallery on the campus of the University of Washington. The first one actually took place in April 2010, during National Poetry Month, so their year seems to have stretched out to about nineteen months. Will the third annual festival be in June 2013?

Since the festival is just up the road from Olympia, I might have gone anyway, but this year’s theme, “Poetry in Translation,” virtually assures that I’ll be there. And the list of participants is impressive. It includes presentations and readings by the likes of Matthew Zapruder, Sarah Valentine, Alissa Valles, and Michael Wiegers, the executive editor of Copper Canyon Press—an institution, like Wave Books itself, that seems to loom genially behind the scenes of the festival.

Perhaps most exciting, the program wraps up on the evening of Sunday, November 6, with “Translators on Translation,” a panel organized in collaboration with Seattle Arts & Lectures. Zapruder will moderate the panel, and the three participants will be Bill Porter (who translates under the pseudonym “Red Pine”), Nikolai Popov, and Peter Cole. Popov, who now teaches at the University of Washington, translated Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man into Bulgarian back in 1981, and Cole, among other things, has translated the selected poems of Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali, who passed away earlier this week.

This promises to be an excellent weekend to spend in Seattle!

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