Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Translation Projects

It has been over a month. I've returned from the ALTA conference with the impression that there is a lot of work to been done.

At ALTA I spoke with Olga Slavnikova, Jim Kates, Marian Schwartz, Aliki and Willis Barnstone, Susan Harris, Dwayne Hayes, Garrick Davis, Bill Johnston, Susan Bernofsky, ok there are too many people to name. Adam Sorkin is possibly my favorite person of all. Idra Novey's work was the only thing I read during the conference, and if made me write. Doug Unger and Guiseppe Natale had a great panel in terms of putting forth a very practical MFA purpose for translation. So...

Let me say that if all goes well there will be much more about all this business in the future. For now I am thinking about putting together a translation project connected to the Russian Debut prize. Each year the Debut Foundation awards a $5000 prize in prose and a poetry. The prize also funds the publication of the Debut anthology which includes the shortlisted writers for that year. The prize has become a magnet for some of the most talented young authors writing in Russian today. My plan is to take the best of the Debut prize in poetry and fiction, and to help put forward two anthologies in the U.S. I believe such a project would be a great window into contemporary Russian literature. I've read the anthologies sponsored by Debut and it would be easy to select good authors for a translated anthology, the hard part would be deciding who to leave out.

As I finish up the semester I will also be looking at grants, and figuring out how to best put this project into motion. So many questions... How should I apply for a grant? Should I try and apply myself, or with a set of collaborators? Who would be most interested in such a project? etc. etc.

Also, I understand I haven't been posting as much as I should be, and that I really haven't followed through with my plan to write on a weekly basis about the contemporary literary scene in Russia. Hopefully I will find more time in the future. Something I might do is start writing for other blogs interested in what I have to offer. One place I might start blogging is Absinthe.

Here are my references for now.

Check out:
Zephyr Press
Words Without Borders

ps. i made a complete fool of myself during ALTA's closing ceremony. the song i think best expresses my mood is this.