Vienišieji / Bezpiederīgie
Translated by Erika Drungytė
Kauņa: Nemunas, 2008
The Lithuanian publishing house Nemunas has released a bilingual collection of poetry by Liāna Langa, entitled Vienišieji/Bezpiederīgie. The poems were translated by Erika Drungyte, a poet who holds a Ph.D. in the humanities.
This new collection includes poems from Langa’s books Te debesis, te ciparnīca (“Now the Sky, Now the Dial”), Iepūt taurītē, Skorpion! (“Blow the Trumpet, Scorpion!”), and Antenu burtnīca (“Diary of Aerials”).
“I must admit that Lithuanians know very little about the works of Latvian writers,” says translator Erika Drungyte. “Even if one or two have heard of, say, Aspazija, Aleksandrs Čaks, or Knuts Skujenieks, the majority know next to nothing about contemporary Latvian literature. Many names in modern Latvian poetry are important to me, but I wanted most of all to translate Liāna Langa, whose opinions and worldview I hold very dear. It was precisely her works that I wanted to open up to Lithuanian readers.”
The book-release party for this new bilingual collection took place on February 14 at the Vilnius International Book Fair, with the participation of representatives from the publishing house, the Latvian Literature Center, as well as the book’s author, translator, and editor. The audience at the well-attended reading consisted mostly of young people.
Nemunas specializes in the publication of original literature, poetry, and photo albums. This collection of poetry was issued with the support of the Latvian State Culture Capital Foundation, the Latvian Literature Center, and the Utena Municipal Government.
Translated by Rose-Marie François, Rüdiger Fischer
Verlag Im Vald, 2008
The German publishing house Verlag Im Wald has released a collection of poetry by Dagnija Dreika entitled Atainojumi/Miroitements/Spiegelungen, which includes poems in the original Latvian and in French and German translation.
The book’s publisher and German translator, Rüdiger Fischer, selected the poems for the collection, guided by his own personal judgment and in consideration of the German reading public. Rose-Marie François translated the poems into the French. The cover design features a drawing by Latvian artist and sculptor Valentīna Zeile.
Les Cerfs noirs / Dark Deer
Translated by Gita Grīnberga, Henri Menantaud
Éditions Theatrales, 2008
The French publishing house Editions Theatrales has issued a French translation, by Gita Grīnberga and Henri Menantaud, of Inga Ābele's play Tumšie brieži, entitled Les Cerfs noirs.
Inga Ābele's play Tumšie brieži was published as part of the European Cultural Season series "Traits d'Union," which honors France's presidency of the European Union. The aim of the project is to translate into the French and publish plays from twenty-seven European nations, so that a wider audience, in addition to theater professionals, could learn more about new European contemporary dramaturgy.
Two readings have been planned to coincide with the publication: on July 17, Patrick Pineau will stage a reading at the Avignon Festival, and in August, the play will be broadcast by the French radio station France Culture.
The translation of Inga Ābele's play into the French was supported by the State Culture Capital Foundation and the Latvian Literature Center.
Tumšie brieži has been produced in Latvia several times; in 2002 it was performed at the Stuttgart State Theater, and this year the play will be staged in Greece. A film version of the play was directed by Viesturs Kairišs.
Tumšie brieži is a domestic drama that takes place in modern-day Latvia in a remote country house, far removed from other people. The dark deer are not just a debt-ridden family's ill-fated hostages, victims of a conflict of spiritual and pragmatic thinking. Rather, they are the teenaged girl Ria's victims: by shooting them, she symbolically kills both herself and love, which has no meaning in the world's bloody slaughterhouse. The barriers created by culture are removed and the savage provocations of primeval nature are obeyed - so begins a battle for life and death, symptomatic of our time.
Translated by Silvestras Gaižiūnas
Vilnius: Pasviręs pasaulis, 2007
The Vilnius publishing house Pasvires pasaulis has published a Lithuanian translation of Zenta Mauriņa's novel Trimdas traģika (Tremties tragizimas, in Lithuanian). The novel was translated by Silvestras Gaižiūnas, who also wrote the preface to the work.
Trimdas traģika (1965) is Mauriņa's Swedish diary, which mainly depicts life in post-war Sweden, where the writer and thousands of her countrymen sought refuge after fleeing from the Soviet occupation. In Sweden, life began anew for these refugees, who sought to gain a foothold in a society where the opinion of many Latvian writers was foreign, and the political situation for refugees from the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea was unfavorable. The novel discusses daily life in Sweden from 1946 to 1951 as well as a trip to Italy and Switzerland in 1961. The chronological diary's cultural commentary is particularly valuable; this considerably broadens the characters' field of reflection and discloses the writer's relationship with the Continent's contradictory geographic and cultural poles: the northern and southern coasts of Europe.
Zenta Mauriņa's novel is the sixth book in the series "Baltoskandijos tiltai," which includes books dedicated to the ties between the Baltics and Scandinavia.
An Anthology of Literary Translation
Number 10, 2007
Poetry by Latvian poet Pēters Brūveris has been included in the tenth volume of the literary translation journal Beacons, released in 2007 by the American Translators Association.
Beacons 10 features Ināra Cedriņa's translations of the poems "Vienai dzejniecei" ("To a Poet"), "Dzejolis, tulkojot Tomu Venclovu" ("Poem, Translating Tomas Venclova"), "Simtais mēģinājums aizvārdot spoguli" ("One Hundredth Try to Read the Mirror"), and two works from the collection Ziedi zaudētājiem! ("Flowers for Losers!").
The journal also includes translations of works by authors from African, China, Tibet, Vietnam, Latin America, and several European countries.
Beacons 10 is also available online:
Translated by Aksinia Mihailova
Sofia: Foundation for Bulgarian Literature, 2008
The Bulgarian Literary Foundation has published a selection of poetry by Dagnija Dreika entitled Zaklinanija, or "Vārdojumi," in Latvian, compiled and translated by Aksinia Mikhailova.
In the book, the translator has compiled poems from several different volumes of Dreika's poetry. The publication of the work was supported by the State Culture Capital Foundation and the Latvian Literature Center.
Mikhailova translated most of the poems, along with works for a forthcoming Bulgarian anthology of Latvian poetry, at the International Writers and Translators House in Venstpils. She has already compiled and translated an anthology of Lithuanian poetry, and is currently translating the poetry of Knuts Skujenieks and Aleksandrs Čaks.
In 2007, the Latvian Literature Center supported the publication of a Lithuanian translation of Dagnija Dreika's collection Vēja smiekli ("The Laughter of the Wind").
Bulgarian versions of Zigmunds Skujiņš's novel Gulta ar zelta kāju ("The Bed with a Golden Leg") and Nora Ikstena's novel Dzīves svinēšana ("Celebration of Life") are also forthcoming.
Tagad es esmu Aleksandrs / Now I am Alexander
Translated by Naira Khachatrian, Artur Andranikian
Yerevan: Amaras, 2008
The Armenian publishing house Amaras has published Knuts Skujenieks’s volume of poetry Tagad es esmu Aleksandrs, which was translated into the Armenian by Naira Khachatrian and Artur Andranikian.
The book has been published with the Armenian translations alongside the original Latvian texts. In the foreword, “A Swirling Snowflake Dance, to the Rhythm of Language,” one of the translators, Artur Andranikian, writes: “Tagad es esmu Aleksandrs is an unusual volume of poetry, in which the poems are arranged, one behind the other, like entries in a diary. The work is a unique daily chronicle that offers both temporary and lasting enjoyment, the feeling of an aesthetic flight, and the experience of an adventure, recorded in the documentation of the poet’s fate.”
Tagad es esmu Aleksandrs was originally published in Latvia in 2006, by the publishing house Neputns. The volume includes poems written between 1999 and 2006 – a time period that did not provoke lyrical enthusiasm in the poet. In his assessment of situations, we can hear both laughter and a good dose of sarcasm. In these small miniatures we see the spark of the poet’s talent—his ability to be ironic first and foremost about himself, though he does not take pity on time and the phenomena that go on around him.
The publication of Skujenieks’s volume of poetry in Armenian translation was supported by the Latvian Literature Center, in collaboration with the State Culture Capital Foundation’s competition “Support for Foreign Publishers Publishing Latvian Literature,” which is organized as part of the cultural program “Latvian Literature in the World.”
On April 23 (World Book and Copyright Day), the Slovenian publishing house Modrijan will release the series “Euroman,” which includes twenty-seven works of fiction from twenty-seven European Union Member States. The project is being conducted in honor of Slovenia 's presidency of the European Union.
Latvian is represented in the series by four stories from Inga Ābele's book Klusā daba ar granātābolu (“Still Life with Pomegrante”): “Mūsu zemju upes” (“The Rivers of our Lands”), “Uzdāviniet man vijolīti” (“Give me the Gift of a Violin”), “Klusā daba ar granātābolu” (“Still Life with Pomegrante”), and “Kā allaž industrijas” (“As Always Industries”). The stories were translated from the English into the Slovenian by Maja Kraigher. The publication of the collection of Latvian stories was supported by the Latvian Literature Center 's competition “Support for Foreign Publishers Publishing Latvian Literature,” which is organized in collaboration with the State Culture Capital Foundation's program “Latvian Literature in the World.”
The authors included in the series represent various generations, and are highly esteemed in their respective countries. The works in the series were all written after 1990. Just as the European Union countries are far from representing Europe in its entirety, 27 prose works cannot encompass the reality of our common continent. Nevertheless, the parts of the series do form a kind of map. The amazingly strong literature of the former Eastern bloc is flanked by the self-assured prose of the West; a surprising vigour and freshness are exhibited by the representatives of “minor” and – to us – exotic nations.
This set of texts reveals all the themes and contrasts of contemporary Europe: the struggle with the consequences of a traumatic history, the social shifts after the fall of communism, the legacy of colonialism, the problems of identity and liminality or marginality, the ethnic conflicts, the issues of immigration and homelessness, the gulf between the East and West, terrorism, the drastic changes in values, the existential emptiness, family relationships, loneliness, loss, God.
From the genre perspective, the series contains novels and four short story collections including parodies, intimate dramas, acid character studies, autobiographical writings, and combined traditions of the detective and modern novel.
For more information, please visit www.euroman.si
The Russian publishing house Vagrius has released an anthology of contemporary Latvian fiction, Женщина в янтаре (“A Woman in Amber”), published with the support of the Latvian Literature Center and the State Culture Capital Foundation.
The anthology includes excerpts the following works of contemporary Latvian fiction: Roalds Dobrovenskis's Rainis un viņa brāļi (“Rainis and His Brothers”); Agate Nesaule's A Woman in Amber ; Andrejs Migla un Valdis Rūmnieks's Kuršu vikingi (“Courland Vikings”); Johans Korins's Dižais gars (“Majestic Spirit”); Aija Lāce's Pilskalna vīrs (“The Man of the Castle Hill”); Andra Neiburga's Provinces Euridīče (“ Provincial Euredika ”); Gundega Repše's Debesu Dora (“Dora of the Skies”); Laima Muktupāvela's Šampinjonu Derība (“ The Mushroom Covenant ”); several stories by Jānis Einfelds; Dace Rukšāne's Romāniņš (“ The Little Novel ”); Pauls Bankovskis's Eiroremonts (“ Eurorenovation ”); Andra Manfelde's Adata (“ The Needle ”); Nora Ikstena's Dzīves svinēšana (“ A Celebration of Life ”) and Naģe ; and Inga Ābele's Mīlestības gadi (“ The Loving Years ”) and Trīssimt žēlīga bez vārdiem (“Three Hundred Plaintive Without Words”).
In the introduction to the book, the Latvian Ambassador to Russia , Andris Teikmanis, writes: “The publication of the Latvian contemporary fiction anthology Женщина в янтаре is an important event in Latvian and Russian cultural life. This is the first time in recent years that such a comprehensive project has introduced the works of Latvian writers, in all their diversity, and mapped their place in both national and world literature.”
The book release party took place in late February, during the Baltic Book Festival. Various dignitaries participated in the presentation: Latvian National Library Director Andris Vilks; Latvian Ambassador to Russia Andris Teikmanis; Russian Foreign Literature Library Director Yekaterina Geniyev; representatives of the Moscow publishing house Vagrius; and the editor of the anthology and director of the Latvian Literature Center, Jānis Oga.
The French publishing house Noir sur Blanc has released a new anthology, Bienvenue à Z. et autres nouvelles de l'Est (Welcome to Z., and other Stories from the East), which includes a novella by the Latvian writer Eriks Ādamsons, Lielas spodrības gaismā ( Une infinie pureté ), translated into the French by Nicolas Auzanneau and Inta Geile.
The anthology also includes short fiction by Russian, Polish, Serbo-Croatian, and Czech authors.
In 2003, Noir sur Blanc released a collection of short stories by Ādamsons, entitled La Chute d'Habacuc et autres nouvelles (The Fall of Habakkuk and other Novellas).
The Latvian writer and journalist Dace Rukšāne's novel Romāniņš (The Little Novel), originally issued in Latvia in 2002, has been released in a Danish translation by the publishing house Husets Forlag, which specializes in works by lesser-known international writers.
The work was translated into the Danish by University of Latvia lecturer Karsten Lomholt, who has also translated novels by Latvian writers Nora Ikstena and Inga Ābele.
Information provided by the publishing house Atēna
In late 2007, a special issue of the Czech literary journal PLAV was devoted to Czech translations of Latvian literature. The issue came about thanks to the support of the Latvian Literature Center and the State Culture Capital Foundation.
The December 2007 issue of PLAV featured fragments from various works of Latvian fiction – Sandra Kalniete’s Ar balles kurpēm Sibīrijas sniegos (With Dance Shoes in Siberian Snows); Valentīns Jākobsons’s story “Nestrādājama diena” (The Day of No Work); Pauls Bankovskis’s Čeka, bumba & rokenrols (Cheka, Bombs & Rock’n’Roll); Inga Ābele’s story “Mīlestības gadi” (The Loving Years); and Imants Ziedonis Epifānijas (Epiphanies) – and translation of Latvian poetry by Knuts Skujenieks, Liāna Langa, Gunars Saliņš, Aivars Neibarts, Juris Kunnoss, Edvīns Raups, Uldis Bērziņš, and Kārlis Vērdiņš.
The journal also included two essays, Zenta Mauriņa’s Baltās drānas – latviešu pasaules uzskats (White Robes: the Latvian Worldview) and Igors Šuvajevs’s Kas ir latvieši? (What are Latvians?), and an interview, published under the heading “Svobodu nelze stupňovat” (Freedom Cannot be Measured), in which Sandra Kalniete spoke with translator Michal Škrabal about her book Ar balles kurpēm Sibīrijas sniegos (With Dance Shoes in Siberian Snows).
Several works of Latvian literature have been published in Czech translations in recent years: Alberts Bels’s novel Bezmiegs (Insomnia); Sandra Kalniete’s novel Ar balles kurpēm Sibīrijas sniegos (With Dance Shoes in Siberian Snows); an anthology of contemporary Latvian poetry; and a short-fiction anthology featuring stories by Inga Ābele, Andra Neiburga, Nora Ikstena, and Gundega Repše.
The German publishing house Weidle Verlag has published Laima Muktupāvela's popular novel Šampinjonu Derība (Das Champignonvermächtnis), in a German translation by Berthold Forssman.
A book release party, with the participation of the novel's author, translator, and publisher, will be organized at the Leipzig Book Fair, which will take place this year from March 13 to March 16. The book fair will also feature guest appearances by Latvian writers Laima Muktupāvela, Nora Ikstena, and Dace Rukšāne.
Muktupāvela's novel Šampinjonu Derība, which was published in a Lithuanian translation in 2003 and will be issued in a Swedish translation in the fall of 2008, reveals the trials and tribulations of Latvian guest workers in Ireland. Literary critic Guntis Berelis has written the following about Laima Muktupavela's first novel: “ Šampinjonu Derība is a work written with great skill, exuding a zest for life – though without claiming to be a serious analysis or deserving of a spot in the upper shelf of literature. But, strangely enough, it is precisely the lack of such pretensions that make the book worthy of attention.”
The translation and publication of the book was supported by the Latvian Literature Center's competition “Support for Foreign Publishers Publishing Latvian Literature,” which is organized biannually in collaboration with the Culture Capital foundation's program “Latvian Literature in the World.”
Weidle Verlag publishes exile literature, novels about art, and specializes in “forgotten classics.” In 2006, Weidle Verlag published a German translation of Anšlavs Eglītis's novel Homo Novus .
Thanks to the financial support of the Latvian Literature Center , the French publishing house L'Archange Minotaure has just released a collection of novellas by the classic Latvian writer Jānis Ezeriņš, entitled L'Âne rose (The Pink Donkey).
The collection includes six novellas – Le Singe (The Monkey), Le Boucher (The Butcher), Partie d'Échecs (Chess Match), Histoire d'une Puce (The Story of a Flea), Les Fossoyeurs (The Gravediggers), L'Âne rose (The Pink Donkey), and Pan en Ville (Pan in the City) – translated by Gita Grīnberga and Jean-Jacques Ringuenoir. The publication also includes an afterword, which discusses Ezeriņš works and his contribution to Latvian literature.
The publication of the collection was supported by the Latvian Literature Center , in collaboration with the State Culture Capital Foundation's competition “Support for Foreign Publishers Publishing Translations of Latvian Literature,” which is part of the Foundation's cultural program “Latvian Literature in the World.”
Ezeriņš was a master of anecdotal novellas, and is one of the most prominent representatives of this genre in Latvian literature. With his carnivalesque, polyphonic themes, Ezeriņš ushered the Latvian novella into modern literature. Ezeriņš is the author of the following collections of short stories and novellas: Dziesminieks un velns (The Songman and the Devil) (1920), Majestātes kazarmēs (In the Barracks of Majesty) (1922), Fantastiska novele un citas (A Fantastic Novella, and Other Works) (1923), Apstarotā galva (The Illuminated Head) (1923), and Leijerkaste (The Barrel Organ) (1923, 1925).
L'Archange Minotaure has published a collection of stories by Inga Ābele, Nature morte à la grenade (Still Life with Pomegranate), and a compilation of Latvian mythological folk songs, Les daïnas. Poèmes mythologiques lettons .
Two poems by Pēters Brūveris – “Mēs meklējam satikšanos” (“It is Encounter We Seek”) and “Omnia mutantur, nihil interit” (“Everything Changes, Nothing is Lost”) – have been included in the March/April issue of the English-language literary magazine World Literature Today.
The poems appear in the magazine both in the original Latvian and in an English translation by the Latvian-American artist, writer, and translator Ināra Cedriņš.
World Literature Today is published bimonthly by the University of Oklahoma, and features poetry and prose from various countries of the world. The magazine also includes interviews, essays, academic papers, and reviews.