Poetry in Translation: Virtual Event Oct. 25

Translation of poetry from Bengali and Chilean Spanish; from ancient and modern Greek, Latin, and Welsh; from English into metal and from metal into English. All these kinds of translation will be featured in a Poetry in Performance event to be held via Zoom on Sunday, October 25, from 2 to 4 p.m.

       Organized by the Mid-Valley Poetry Society, the event will feature Seattle poet-translator Carolyne Wright; Welsh-born poet-translator Paul Merchant, long resident in Portland; and Portland metal sculptor Steve Tilden, who has collaborated with Merchant on translations across media. This Zoom event will be free and open to the public, and participants can share their own forays into poetry translation during an open mic segment. Books by the featured poets will be highlighted and can be ordered online.

       Carolyne Wright’s most recent books are This Dream the World: New & Selected Poems (Lost Horse Press, 2017), whose title poem received a Pushcart Prize and was included in The Best American Poetry 2009, and a bilingual volume of Chilean poet Eugenia Toledo, Trazas de mapa, trazas de sangre / Map Traces, Blood Traces (Mayapple Press, 2017), a Finalist for the 2018 Washington State Book Award in Poetry and for the 2018 PEN Los Angeles Award in Translation. She has another award-winning bilingual volume of poetry in translation from Chilean Spanish, and three volumes of poetry by Bengali women poets in her translation. Wright has lived in Chile and traveled in Brazil on a Fulbright Study Grant, and she returned to Brazil in 2018 for an Instituto Sacatar artist’s residency in Bahia.

       Paul Merchant’s poetry collections, published by Five Seasons Press, include Bone from a Stag’s Heart, a British Poetry Book Society Recommendation in 1988, and Some Business of Affinity, an Oregon Book Awards Finalist in 2006. Merchant taught from 1973 to 1986 at the University of Warwick, England, and served from 1986 until recently as Director of the William Stafford Archives at Lewis & Clark College in Portland. He is the author of translations from Greek, Latin, and Modern Greek, and (with Michael Faletra) from medieval Welsh poet Dafydd ap Gwilym. He has worked with sculptor Steve Tilden on shared projects for many years.

       After a number of different careers, Steve Tilden began making metal artwork at age 60. In 2004 he joined Blackfish Gallery, a cooperative with about thirty member artists. He has his studio in his home in northeast Portland, where he shares space and equipment with a glass artist; other artists use his space and equipment for miscellaneous projects. After meeting Paul Merchant in a project pairing visual artists with poets in 2001, he began to wonder whether he could actually “sculpt” words. This led to nearly two decades of collaboration with Merchant. In  this collaboration, Tilden “translates” Merchant’s writing into metal, and also “writes” poems in metal that Merchant “translates” into English-language versions.

       In the October 25th Zoom event, Wright, Merchant, and Tilden will discuss and share their poetry in translation. A link to this free public event will be sent out closer to its date.

       For further information, contact MVPS chair Eleanor Berry [email protected] or 503-559-4349.

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