Got Yiddish? Want to Go to Lithuania?

I don’t usually blog contests with entry fees (which I’m really not comfortable with on principle), but this one is enough of a fun oddity that I couldn’t resist sharing for your delectation; it’s up to you whether you consider the $17 “pay to play” fee justified. The Lithuanian branch of the Summer Literary Seminars program has just announced a translation contest to honor the centennial of the important Yiddish poet Abraham Sutzkever. First prize is a full scholarship to attend SLS Lithuania in July 2013 (which has some truly excellent faculty lined up) plus a $500 travel stipend. Ed Hirsch will be judging the prize, which will go to the best translation of one of Sutzkever’s poems – though the organizers stress that they’ll let you decide for yourself what “translation” means:

We understand ‘translation’ in the widest possible sense. All entries must either translate one of Sutzkever’s Yiddish poems, or respond to a previously translated Sutzkever poem. By ‘respond’, we mean your poem should be an artistic reaction to one of Sutzkever’s – this can be a thematic tangent, or a re-translation, or really anything, as long as the poem’s inspiration clearly comes from Abraham Sutzkever’s poetry. Please indicate in your entry which Sutzkever piece your poem is responding to.

For samples of Sutzkever’s work and complete instructions, see the SLS website.

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