Friday, November 25, 2011

Wave on Wave

Installation of George Washington statue (1909) / Image courtesy of UW University Libraries

Within the past few weeks, I visited two superbly organized translation gatherings: Wave Books’ “3 Days of Poetry” in Seattle, and the annual conference of the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) in Kansas City. In both places, I met a lot of talented people and heard a lot of great ideas, and I want to be sure I get everything down before I lose my notes or forget key details. I’ll start with the Wave festival in this post, and then I’ll move on to ALTA in the next one.

Wave’s weekend-long festival was held at the University of Washington’s Henry Art Gallery, located just off Red Square (seriously!) and right next to the hulking statue of General Washington himself. The venue certainly gave the festival a welcome aura of artistic inspiration, but I did have a hard time hearing some of the speakers inside the high-ceilinged galleries. Nevertheless, one of the highlights of the weekend took place in those echo chambers: Matthew Zapruder’s conversation with Sarah Valentine about Russian poet Gennady Aygi.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Keeping It Civil

From the Times:

The “Citizen Poet” project — conceived by three friends after a night of heavy drinking — is pushing the edges of Internet programming in Russia, delivering political satire to an audience that numbers in the millions rather than the thousands. It has also tapped into the sour response of many Russians to Mr. Putin’s plan to return to the presidency, a mood made darker by the absence of any viable course of action.  
Unless poetry counts as a course of action. 

For videos, etc., see the project's website and YouTube page.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mamin-Sibiryak's "Fly"

Cover of Fall 2011 issue of Chtenia / Image courtesy of the magazine

In yesterday's mail, I got my copy of the fall issue of Chtenia, which includes my translation of one of Dmitry Mamin-Sibiryak's "Alyona stories" (Аленушкины сказки, 1896). These were stories that the author originally told to his little girl, who lost her mother when she was still an infant. The one that I translated is called "Tale of How There Once Was a Fly Who Outlived the Others" ("Сказка о том, как жила-была последняя муха"). For a taste of the story's mood (grim), you might have a look at animated-film director Alyona Oyatyeva's adaptation on YouTube.