PEN Online Translation Slam

I really wasn’t going to blog anymore today, but word has just reached me that the latest PEN online translation slam has been posted. I’ve been curating the slam for the past couple of years. It’s an online approximation of the live slam we put on during the PEN World Voices Festival every spring, traditionally at the Bowery Poetry Club, a suitable slammy place. The point of the slam is to highlight the art of translation by juxtaposing two “competing” (i.e. different) translations of the same poem. Guess what, they always differ quite a bit from one another! And that’s the space of translation: that difference between the two. I’d love to post even more different translations, but it would be hard to fit more than two comfortably on the projection screen at the BPC or on the PEN.org website. But now Telephone Journal is taking up the slack, publishing issues that feature a single poet in a large number of different translations. I’ll have to devote a post just to them some time. But not today. I have already procrastinated sufficiently for one day. Oh, but I should let you know that the new PEN slam features Turkish poet Bejan Matur, translated by Kristin Dickinson and David Gramling. Note that an essential feature of the slam is the comments page—that’s where readers like you can weigh in on what you think of the translations and the differences between them. Please speak up!

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