Sunday, June 26

‘Everything livable’: why I gave up translating Amanda Gorman | Babelia



Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, International Booker Prize winner for his novel ‘La inquietud de la noche’ (Today’s Topics), has written a poem in response to the controversy that erupted two weeks ago when he announced his decision to give up translating the book that has become famous into Dutch world-wide to the american Amanda Gorman, ‘The hill we ascend’, after she read one of the poems included in the volume during the inauguration of President Joe Biden last January. Rijneveld explained that he was withdrawing from the project due to the controversy that arose on social networks due to the fact that a white person had been chosen, Gorman being black. His Catalan translator, Víctor Obiols, stated on Wednesday that his version of the poem for the Univers publishing house was rejected by Gorman’s agents, preferring that he be in charge of translating it “a woman with an activist profile and, if possible, of African-American origin. ”. Rijneveld also wrote a poem dedicated to Gorman, ‘Everything habitable’, which ‘Babelia’ publishes below.

You have never lost that resistance, the first tension between sorrow and joy,

nor have you delivered it to the preaching in the pulpit, to the World that declares

what is right or wrong, you were never lazy to get up, or face,

raising fists, harassment or fighting against typecasting,

against those tumults of not knowing inside your head,

you tempered the impotence with the provocation in the eyes, and

you always announced your path with rock solid pride,

to see someone reduced to dust and to see how it slips away

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the last drop of dignity, you are against craniometry,

against slavery, against everything that cages humanity.

The impossible challenge to translate Amanda Gorman if you are white, by Nuria Barrios

You have never lost that stamina, the seed of free fight, you

origin wears mourning attire, your origin was lucky,

had an escape route, not that your experience agrees,

it’s not that you always see the grass on the other side

withered and less green – the secret is to be able

to put yourself in someone else’s place, to notice the sea of ​​sadness behind

From someone else’s eyes, the mutinous rage of all rages, do you want

to say that you may not understand everything,

that of course you don’t always hit the right string, but that

You feel it, yes you feel it, even if the difference is an abyss.

You have never lost that resistance and yet you are still able to grasp

when a place is not yours, when you should kneel for a poem because

someone else can make it more livable; and no

out of rejection, not out of discouragement, but because you know

that there is so much inequality, so many people still discriminated against,

what you want is fraternity, you want a fist, and maybe you

hand isn’t strong enough yet, or you may need to first pick up

the other’s hand to reconcile, you need to feel the hope vividly

that you are doing something to improve the world, although this should not

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forget it: after kneeling, get up again and make our backs straighten together.

Translation by Bárbara Mingo.


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