The Horizon, Hemmed in Gold

The Horizon, Hemmed in Gold

Best friend,
yours is the right to raft down the smooth rivers,
to bushwhack through the black forests at night
and to freshen your senses in the streaming wind;

to sing to the fields a rice-growing song;
to turn your grin upward at the scattered stars;
to gaze at the tall grass through your tears,
or be embittered by a world lost in murk;

to coast as carefree as a swan in flight
or to sigh with the pine-tops from deep in your soul;
sow joy by the handful in somebody’s heart
while brimful of suffering in your own;

to break sod on a path for the impoverished;
to forsake your fine hair, soft as silk;
undaunted to rise, no matter who’s watching;
to hand out all your belongings, as your heart wills;

to keep on living for the people you love;
to shatter ignorant ranks and grind them to dust;
to hold your course steady, daring all for the Goal;
virtue to uphold, till the world itself ends;

for riverbends and moon-slivers, friends past beyond;
for the stalks of bamboo that bend on the mountains;
for the grains of rice scattered along every furrow;
for the horizon, hemmed in gold, before dawn.

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ขอบฟ้ า ขลิบทอง

มิ่งมิตร
เธอมีสิทธิ์  ที่จะลอง แม่น้ำรื่น
ที่จะบุก ดงดำ กลางค่ำคืน
ที่จะชื่น ใจหลาย กบสายลม

ที่จะร่ำาเพลง เก่ยว โลมเรียวข้าว
ที่จะยิม กบดาว พราวผสม
ที่จะเหม่อ มองหญ้า นำ้าตาพรม
ที่จะขม ขื่นลึก โลกหมึกมน

ที่จะแลน เริงเลน เช่นหงษ์ร่อน
ที่จะถอน ใจทอด กบยอดสน
ที่จะหวาน สุขไว้ กลางใจคน
ที่จะทน  ทุกข์เข้ม  เต็มหัวใจ

ที่จะเกลา ทางกู สู่คนยาก
ที่จะจาก ผมนิ่ม ปิ้ มเส้นไหม
ที่จะหาญ ผสานท้า นัยน์ตาใคร
ที่จะให้ สิ่งสิ้น เธอจินต์จง

ที่จะอยู เพือคน ที่เธอรัก
ที่จะหัก พาลแพรก แหลกเป็นผง
ที่จะมุ่ง จุดหมาย ประกายทะนง
ที่จะคง ธรรมเที่ยง เคียงโลกา

เพื่อโค้งเคียว เรียวเดือน และเพื่อนโพ้น
เพือไผโอน พลิ้วพ้อ ล้อภูผา
เพือเรืองข้าว พราวแพร้ว ทัวแนวนา
เพื่อขอบฟ้ า ขลิบทอง รองอรุณ

Translator’s Note

“The Horizon, Hemmed in Gold” is the best-known poem from the collection of the same name, originally published in 1952 by Prakhin Chumsai na Ayutthaya under the pen name Ujjeni. (Ujjeni would later be named a “National Artist” in literature in 1987.) The poem gains its power through the range of worldly experiences—both good and bad, selfless and self-indulgent—it asserts as everyone’s birth right, the common inheritance of each individual. Yet every person is equally entitled to transcending these fluctuating conditions of joy and pain—the acts the poem mentions, of shearing one’s hair and forgoing material possessions, are perquisites of Buddhist monks, and the final image, of the horizon lit under dawn, is an obvious symbol of Enlightenment. Recognizing this spark of Buddhahood in everyone, the poem addresses each reader equally, and in tender terms: “best friend.”

Noh AnothaiNoh Anothai was a researcher with the Thailand-United States Education Foundation (Fulbright Thailand) between 2011-12. In that time, he translated programs and hosted cultural events for Thailand’s Ministry of Culture and College of Dramatic Arts. The winner of Lunch Ticket’s inaugural Gabo Prize for Translation and Multi-Lingual Texts in 2014, Anothai has recently appeared in Structo (UK), RHINO, Pilgrimage, and others, and will appear in the July 2014 of Stirring as the winner of the Sundress Academy for the Arts’ OUTspoken contest.

 

UjjeniUjjeni (b. 1919) is the pen name of Prakhin Chumsai na Ayutthaya, who began writing poetry as a student at Chulalongkorn University, where he majored in French (even winning a scholarship to study in Paris for a time), and where he would later return to teach. In 1948, he began publishing increasingly socially-minded poetry in politically-oriented magazines. These were later collected into The Horizon, Hemmed in Gold (1956). Ujjeni was named a National Artist in Literature in 1987, and The Horizon has been listed as one of the hundred books that all Thais should read by Thailand’s Ministry of Education.

Three Danish Poems

Now what if

Now what if it were
like in a real mystery
where the guilty parties would not be sought out

where the strongest suspicion fell
but a place no one had thought of
and yet obvious to people with hindsight

Now what if the ringleaders
were only ringleaders in their own
and all others’ imagination

Now what if “the big fish”
when it came down to it only were
small fry, trash fish, bait?

 

Now what if those places
where all evidence points:
arms cartels narcotics syndicates

multinational corporations
various banks and governments
KGB CIA

The mafia
exile- and neo-nazi
terrorist groups

secret lodges
crypto-this and -that
etcetera etcetera

only were small misleading glimpses
from outside the visible tip
of an iceberg of unknown dimensions

 

This would not exempt them from complicity
but now what if it were
like in a real mystery

that the obvious ringleaders only were
front men for an extensive
network of real ringleaders

Now what if the real ringleaders
turned out to look like the victims
felt like victims

Now what if the ringleaders were the victims
honest workers and unemployed
sensible schoolteachers

conscientious researchers
worried housewives
jovial truck drivers

 

hardworking farmers
people at factories and offices
people out on the ocean

people in mines or hospitals
people that never would do
harm to anyone

now what if these guilty parties
were perfectly ordinary people
who haven’t done anything

who can’t do anything about it
for example people
like you and me

Now what if it were
like in a real mystery
and in the end we were found out

How would we react
and how would we be punished
for something we didn’t do

and how would we be forgiven
because we didn’t know what we were doing
when we didn’t even do it

Anyway it isn’t
a real mystery
because who would ever

find us out?

 

Someplace in Europe

Stillness woven together with little sounds
wind through branches
a distant bird
a faraway train
or the ocean
little sounds the size of
released sighs

Laundry is taken down from the line
the woman with clothespins between her lips
seems to want to say something
but she goes into her house
to have someone to say it to

A single airplane high up
howling of dogs
and with a bit of patience
sooner or later you get to hear laughter
a couple of children’s voices
maybe one that bursts into song
it would seem natural here

But rarely screams
no gunfire
or grenade explosions
where would they come from

Children are playing
and they look both ways
before crossing the street
scented with the cooking from the houses
a man comes riding a bicycle
another one comes driving a small car
honk honk says the car
ding ding says the bicycle
the driver has a cigarette in his mouth
the bicyclist does not
they nod to one another
and continue on their separate ways
none of them get hit by gunshots
where would the gunshots even come from
People can disagree
start shouting
once in a while it even comes to blows
but for the time being let’s go home for dinner

And the stillness blends with the darkness
a deeper fuller tone
except for a meticulous crackling
perhaps from an insect
or steps in gravel
or a constellation
that is shuddering slightly
Before long you don’t know
whether what you’re hearing
are the little sounds of the ocean far away
or your own smaller inner ocean
breaking on the coast of your temples

It must have been as peaceful as this in Bosnia once.

 

The real people

To travel
away from the hot water bottle and pork sausage
out to the real places
where the real people eat real food
live in real houses with real balconies
speak real, walk real
stop real
really get in trouble
have real children with real eyes
far from pork sausage and the hot water bottle
down south
in the south there’s colors, atmosphere
all the houses resemble famous old paintings
all the people can sing and look like famous statues
often substitute for them
in the south you drink wine
in the south you’re excitable all year round
in the south you do everything out in the open
love, fight, live, whistle, die
really
it’s inborn

in the north you have runny noses cancer envy
in the north you walk around the puddles
around the statues
around one another
in the north you drink milk
in the north you have to think about your health
in the north you’re stiff with health
in the north you’re right
in the north you don’t budge an inch
in the north
in the north
you go south
where the real people have real cats
real lice
real teeth, sores, contrasts
you meet at the real places and hold real parties
where the real blood rushes
everyone knows one another
far from the hot water bottle and pork sausage.

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Hvad nu hvis

Hvad nu hvis det var
som i en rigtig krimi
at den skyldige ikke skulle søges

hvor den stærkeste mistanke faldt
men et sted som ingen havde tænkte på
og alligevel indlysende for bagkloge

Hvad nu hivs bagmændene
bare var bagmænd i egen
og alle andres indbildning

Hvad nu hvis “de store fisk”
når det kom til sykket kun var
småfisk, skidtfisk, agn?

Hvad nu hvis de punkter
som alle peger hen imod
våbentruster narkosyndikater

multinationale selskaber
diverse banker og regeringer
KGB CIA

Mafiaen
eksil- og nynazister
terrororganisationer

hemmelige loger
krypto-dit og dat
etcetera etcetera

kun var små vildledende glimt
fra ydersiden af den synlige top
af et isbjerg af ukendte dimensioner

Det ville ikke fritage dem for medskyld
men hvad nu hvis det var
som i en rigtig krimi

 

at de oplagte bagmænd kun var
stråmænd for et vidtforgrenet
net af virkelige bagmænd?

Hvad nu hvis de egentlige bagmænd
viste sig at ligne ofrene
følte sig som ofre

Hvad nu hvis bagmændene var ofrene
hæderlige arbejdere og arbejdsløse
fornuftige skolelærere

samvittighedsfulde forskere
bekymrede husmødre
gemytlige lastbilchauffører

hårdarbejdende landmænd
folk på fabrikker og kontorer
folk på søen

 

folk i miner eller syghuse
folk der aldrig ville gøre
nogen noget ondt

Hvad nu hvis de skyldige
var ganske almindelige mennesker
som ikke har gjort noget

som ikke kan gøre for det
som for eksempel folk
som dig og mig

Hvad nu hvis det var
som i en rigtig krimi
og til sidst blev opdaget

hvordan ville vi reagere
og hvordan skulle vi straffes
for noget vi ikke har gjort

 

og hvordan skulle vi få tilgivelse
fordi vi ikke vidste hvad vi gjorde
når vi end ikke har gjort det

Det er nok alligevel
ikke en rigtig krimi
for hvem ville nogensinde

opdage os?

 

Et sted i Europa

Stilhed vævet sammen af små lyde
vind gennem grene
en fjern fugl
et afsides tog
eller havet
små lyde på størrelse
med lettede suk

Vasketøjet tages ned fra snoren
kvinden med tøjklemmer mellem læberne
har nok lyst til at sige noget
men går ind i sit hus
for at have nogen at sige det til

En enkelt flyvemaskine højt oppe
hundeglam
og med en smule tålmodighed
får man før eller senere en latter at høre
et par børnestemme
måske en der bryder ud i sang
det ville forekomme naturligt her

Men sjældent skrig
ikke skudsalver
eller granateksplosioner
hvor skulle de komme fra

Børn leger
og ser sig for til begge sider
før de går over vejen
der dufter af madlavning fra husene
en mand kommer kørende på cykel
en anden mand kommer kørende i en lille bil
dyt dyt siger bilen
ding ding siger cyklen
bilisten har en cigar i munden
det har cyklisten ikke
de nikker til hinanden
og kører videre hver sin vej
ingen af dem bliver ramt af skud
hvor skulle de skud dog komme fra

Folk kan blive uenige
begynde at råbe op
indimellem vanker der sikkert et par flade
men lige nu vil man hjem til aftensmaden

Og stilheden blandes med mørket
en dybere mættere tone
borthørt fra en sirlig knitren
måske fra et insekt
eller trin i grus
eller et stjernebillede
der skutter sig lidt
Inden længe ved man ikke
om den smule man hører
er den svage lyd fra havet langt borte
eller ens eget mindre indre hav
der slår mod tindingens kyst

Så fredfyldt har der sikkert også været
i Bosnien engang.

 

De rigtige mennesker

At rejse
bort fra varmedunk og medisterpølse
rejse ud til de rigtige steder
hvor de rigtige mennesker spiser rigtig mad
bor i rigtige huse med rigtige balkoner
taler rigtigt, går rigtigt
går rigtigt i stå
kommer rigtig galt af sted
får rigtige børn med rigtige øjne
fjernt fra medisterpølse og varmedunke
sydpå
i syden er der farver, atmosfære
alle huse forestiller kendte famle malerier
alle folk kan synge og ligner berømte stuer
vikarierer ofte for dem
i syden drikker man vin
i syden har man temperament året rundt
i syden gør man alt for åbent tæppe
elsker, skændes, lever, fløjter, dør
rigtigt
der er medfødt

i norden har man snue kræft misundelse
i norden går man uden om pytterne
uden om statuerne
uden om hinanden
i norden drikker man mælk
i norden må man tænke på sin sundhed
i norden er man stiv af sundhed
i norden har man ret
i norden viger man ikke en tomme
i norden
i norden
tar man til syden
hvor de rigtige mennesker har rigtige katte
rigtige lus
rigitige tænder, sår, modsætninger
man mødes de rigtige steder og holder rigtige fester
hvor det rigtige blod bruser
alle kender hinanden
fjernt fra varmedunk og medisterpølse.

Translator’s Note

Poetry can get on people’s nerves.  I have repeatedly experienced unnerving moments when I have been reading an exquisite piece of Danish literature, and then the page suddenly turned into a mirror, and there I sat, staring into my inner world, noticing parts of myself that I had forgotten, or never had seen before. These epiphanic moments are my recurrent falling in love with literature. And I feel inspired to share these works so they might enrich the lives of others as well. The Danish language is spoken by less than 6 million people. As an English speaker who has been reading Danish literature for 30 years, I am in a unique position as a kind of medium who can lovingly re-create these stories and poems so they may be received by a global audience.

Part of the beauty of reading Benny Andersen is how easily the poems go in. His language is not overstrained or scholarly. What Andersen does is pluck a few commonplace thoughts or moments out of a given day and put them under his own quirky magnifier. There in his poems we encounter his flair for illuminating irony and we soon realize that our lives are full of it. Andersen has won a multitude of major literary prizes including the 2011 Danish Arts Foundation Award for Lifetime Achievement. His collected poems, a tome of 1,200 pages has sold over 150,000 copies in a country with fewer people than Maryland. An accomplished musician and songwriter, one of his CD’s sold over a half million copies. Danes see him as a genuine literary hero, able to authentically represent their national culture, regarding him as Americans might a cross between Robert Frost and Bob Dylan.

Michael GoldmanBy translating a Danish copy of Catcher in the Rye word for word, Michael Goldman taught himself Danish over twenty-five years ago to help him win the heart of a lovely Danish girl—and they have been married ever since. He has received seven translation grants for his work with distinguished Danish writers, among them Denmark’s most popular, all-time best-selling poet Benny Andersen. Over fifty of Michael’s translations have appeared in eighteen literary journals including Rattle, International Poetry Review, and World Literature Today. And his original poetry appeared in Poet Lore and The Fourth River. He lives in Florence, Mass. www.hammerandhorn.net

 

Benny AndersonBenny Andersen is the foremost living poet and lyricist in Denmark. First published in 1960, he has produced twenty-one volumes of poetry along with numerous records, stories, screenplays and children’s books. Parts of his work have been translated into twenty-four languages. Now eighty-five, he continues to write and to perform to sold-out audiences in Denmark. He lives near Copenhagen.

Mamasafari, Mountain Aunt, Property

Mamasafari

Some people live and die worse than their cows.

When the people were taken away cows lowed in the fields until they died.

When I talk about this to colleagues, they turn to one another, as if I’m crazy.

How do you talk about that at conferences? That’s much too practical for conferences.

That’s too practical even for poetry.

I remember the meadow where I cry

because I’m scared of a little dog, of the woods in which I get lost, and the dog finds me.

In the photographs they used to bring to us, shaggy new grass and wild onions had grown from the ashes.

Mom’s a stranger today, and she’s going on a fieldtrip, on a safari to her own country.

Are there flowers, where the two of us are going with a Gianni rental, growing from the uncle’s unripe vertebra. Or does someone’s tomato stake jut from Grandma’s toothless mouth.

We’ll get a rental in a nearby town.

When finally we go to our mountain.

We’ve been planning this safari for twenty years, every spring.

 

Mountain Aunt

We wondered where our aunt went, with her black face and blue eyes.

She was already old, but never before had she left the village or the hamlet with hellebore and beehive.

Willful, fast and skinny, carried a rooster on her shoulder, drank rakija for breakfast, could tear a hog for bacon and cursed a lot, her stories were brilliant and her eyes bright.

Where did that peculiar aunt go, she smelled of sour udders and wool, and we ran from her hugs, and now, well, we’re sorry.

They say she was taken to the city, we found her in the school gym filled with old folks, sick on a mat. She asked: is this prison, well if it isn’t, why can’t I go out?

And she asked: what happened to my animals?

That’s where our mountain aunt with a sheep’s lock in her black hair went. And I climbed atop the well in the woods and shouted a secret: fuck you, motherfuckers.

She lugged away the house with her, the meadow, the hill, the dog and me. They say a young soldier took her. She lugged away the hay-barn with her, the ram, the smokehouse, the plum orchard, the snow and the summer and me.

That’s where our mountain aunt went, she didn’t come back. They say my sweetheart took her or someone who looks like him.

Later on, the third army arrived too, and burned the house down. The meadow, the hill, the dog and me. The ram, the plum orchard, the snow and the summer and me.

 

Property

I’ve got wrinkles around my eyes, smiling ones, and one near my lips, the crying one.

I’m carrying a baby, paler than honey, fresh laundry smells, the husband pulls out curls from his chest, arrives with a black spark in his eyes, and on a leash leads a gentle cat and a white skiff.

This is my property, what I acquired.

I also have a dead baby in my stomach, in the hospital dump, half of dead father in the grave, under the vase, his legs in the hospital dump,

and dirty laundry and socks with holes, like everyone else from our beach I have,

those I never got over, those I did, the sick ones and the fucked ones…

A family blown out by a grenade, and finished off by a bureaucratic knife.

I even had this fool for whom I suffered a few years, if he were a disease, I would’ve died, this way nothing.

I’ve also got thunderous sisters with many husbands and children, they get straight A’s on their report cards and we give them money.

My mother finds me, and says: Sunshine, you put me together with the Earth.

I’ve got books, a desk, a chair. I don’t need more than two cubic meters for what I am and what I will be in death, and I’ve got more than that.

I grew up, that’s what my property tells me:

When we were little, tears used to be hot, now they cool us off.

When we were little laughter made our stomachs hurt, now we laugh so it won’t hurt.

Everything that is happening already happened.

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Mamasafari

Neki ljudi žive i umru gore od svojih krava.

Krave su do smrti mukale po poljima kad su odveli ljude.

Kad to ispričam znancima okrenu se sebi, kao da sam luda.

Kako o tome pričati na konferencijama? Za konferencije to je previše prakse.

To je previše prakse čak i za poeziju.

Sjećam se livade na kojoj plačem

jer se bojim malog psa, šume u kojoj se izgubim, a pas me nađe.

Na fotografijama koje su nam donosili, iz zgarišta je izrasla čupava mlada trava i divlji luk.

Mama je danas stranac i ona ide na izlet, na safari u svoju zemlju.

Ima ti tamo, kamo putujemo nas dvije rentakarom Gianni, cvijeća iz nezrelog ujakova pršljena. Ili taklja za nečije rajčice viri iz bakinih bezubih usta.

Iznajmit ćemo apartman u obližnjem gradiću.

Jednom kad odemo na našu planinu.

Planiramo taj safari dvadeset godina, svakog proljeća.

 

Planinska Teta

Gdje je otišla naša teta sa crnim licem i plavim očima, pitali smo se.

Bila je već stara, al nikad prije nije napuštala selo i zaselak s kukurijekom i košnicom.

Svojeglava, brza i mršava, nosila je pijetla na ramenu, za doručak pila je rakiju, mogla je rasparati svinju za slaninu i puno je psovala, njene su priče bile sjajne i njene su oči bile blistave.

Kamo je otišla ta osebujna teta, mirisala je na kiselo vime i vunu i bježali smo iz njenog zagrljaja, a sad nam je, eto, žao.

Kažu da su je odveli u grad, našli smo je u gimnastičkj dvorani sa starcima, bolesnu na školskoj strunjači. Pitala je: je li ovo zatvor, pa ako nije zašto ne smijem izaći?

Pitala je i: što je s mojim životinjama?

Tamo je otišla naša planinska teta s ovčjim pramenom u crnoj kosi. A ja sam otišla nad šumski bunar i viknula tajnu: jebem vam mater svima.

Odvukla je za sobom kuću, livadu, brdo, psa i meme. Kažu da ju je odveo mladi vojnik. Odvukla je za sobom sjenik, ovna, sušaru, snijeg i ljeto i mene.

Tamo je otišla naša planinska teta, nije se vratila. Kažu da ju je odveo moj dragi ili netko njemu sličan.

Kasnije je došla i treća vojska i do temelja spalila kuću. Livadu, brdo, psa i mene. Ov, šsljivik, snijeg i ljeto i mene.

 

Imanje

Imam bore oko očiju smijalice i jednu pokraj usana plakalicu.

Nosim bebu, svjetliju od meda, oprano rublje miriše, a muž iznosi kovrče na grudima, dolazi s crnom iskrom u očima, vodi nježnog mačka i bijelu barku.

To je moje imanje, što sam stekla.

A imam i mrtvo dijete u trbuhu, na bolničkom smetlištu, pola mrtvog oca u grobu, ispod vaze, noge su mu na bolničkom smetlištu,

i prljavo rublje i probušene čarape, imam kao i svatko s naše plaže,

i nepreboljene preboljene, bolesne, pojebane . . .

Obitelj koju je raznijela granata, a dovršio birokratski nož.

Imala sam i neku budalu od koje sam patila nekoliko godina, da je bolest umrla bih, ovako ništa.

Imam i gromke sestre s puno muževa i djece, svi na kraju godine prođu s pet i damo im para.

Moja me mater nađe, pa mi kaže: Sunce, koje si me sa Zemljom sastavilo.

Imam knjige, stol, stolicu. Ne trebam više od dva kubna metra za ono što jesam i što ću biti u smrti, a imam više.

Odrasla sam, to mi govori moje imanje:

Kad smo bili mali, suze su bile vrele, sad nas hlade.

Kad smo bili mali od smijeha nas je bolio trbuh, a sad se smijemo da ne boli.

Sve što se događa dogodilo se.

Translator’s Note

Consider for a moment the world without translation: international news a mystery, foreign films without subtitles, various product guides incomprehensible. All the books on our shelves—Kundera and Murakami, Kafka, Hesse, Sapho, Baudelaire, Bulgakov—written in their original languages, not more useful or alive than room decor. It’s necessary, translation is. It creates our reality. Without it, the access and creative fuel it provides, we would descent into some sorry existential and artistic apathy. And what we get in translation is just a sliver of world literature, and that sliver rarely contains ‘minor’ languages. That’s why I translate. I think it’s crucial.

As for the process of translating poetry, it starts with getting to know the original poem—swimming inside its ambiguities, allusions, subtleties, its metaphors and music. You then dissolve all that, and try to recreate it into another language. At a certain point you start feeling as if you’re not just rendering but writing the poem. I’ve heard people compare translation to performance, and I guess it can be called that, in the sense that a translator doesn’t, can’t imitate or become the original poet. It’s simply that a translator gets into a mental space that feels as if she is actually making this poem, breathing life into it, as if the poem is coming into existence for the first time. Well, at least in this linguistic reality.

Olja Savičević Ivančević is a Croatian writer whose work has been translated into German, Czech, Italian, Spanish, French, Macedonian, Polish, Ukranian, Lithuanian, and Zulu, among other languages. Her first collection of poetry, It Will Be Tremendous When I Grow Up, was published in 1988, when Olja was only 14. Her other books of poetry include: Eternal Kids (1993); Female Manuscripts (1999); Puzzlerojc (2005); House Rules (2007), winner of the prestigious Croatian award Kiklop; and Mamasafari (2012). Her collection of short stories, To Make A Dog Laugh (2006), and her debut novel, Farewell, Cowboy (2010), won several Croatian literary awards. Her short stories have been adapted to short films and Farewell, Cowboy has been adapted for the stage in Croatia and England. This year McSweeney is publishing her novel in English. Olja is an all-around artist, and often collaborates with theatres as a dramatist and writes lyrics for theatre songs.

Her writing is rich in local color. Her characters are often disillusioned dreamers, truth-facing oddballs, subversive survivors, likeable antiheros. Throughout her works, her tone is subtly cutting, but always compassionate and very accessible. The poems included here—“Child and I,” “Character” and “Kolja”—are from Mamasafari, book she wrote during her visit to Istanbul. This collection is a Turkish travelogue of sorts that is juxtaposed with meditations on the author’s home, family, childhood, and the memory of war. I always admired Olja’s use of language, her brand of understated brilliance, her knack for description, her use of regional (Dalmatian) dialect, her piercing yet sharp commentary. When I read Mamasafari during my visit home to Croatia, I was bummed out that my American friends and English speakers in general were missing out on this, so I decided to translate it. The process consisted of literal translation first that was followed with endless waves of revisions. I was very mindful of preserving the tone of poems, the textured sounds of dialect use, and the role of punctuation in the pacing of the poems. And all of that terrifically sweet tension Olja creates in the original text was both challenge and fun during translation.

Olja Savičević IvančevićOlja Savičević Ivančević is a Croatian author whose work has been translated into German, Czech, Italian, Spanish, French, Macedonian, Polish, Ukranian, Lithuanian, and Zulu, among other languages. Her collections of poetry include: It Will Be Tremendous When I Grow Up (1988); Eternal Kids (1993); Female Manuscripts (1999); Puzzlerojc (2005); House Rules (2007), winner of the prestigious Croatian award Kiklop; and Mamasafari (2012). Her collection of short stories, To Make A Dog Laugh (2006), and her novel, Adios, Cowboy (2010), won several Croatian literary awards. Adios, Cowboy is forthcoming in English by McSweeney’s in 2015.

 

Andrea JurjevićAndrea Jurjević is a native of Croatia. Her poems have appeared in The Journal, Harpur Palate, Raleigh Review, Best New PoetsThe Missouri Review, and elsewhere; her translations of Croatian poetry can be found in Lunch Ticket, RHINO, Berkeley Poetry Review and The Adirondack Review. She is the winner of the 2013 Robinson Jeffers Tor Prize, the 2014 Der-Hovanessian Translation Award and the 2015 RHINO Translation Prize.