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
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
forget it: after kneeling, get up again and make our backs straighten together.
Translation by Bárbara Mingo.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.