11 April 2014

Tom Leonards "Jist ti Let Yi No" auf Deutsch

Schottischer Lyriker Tom Leonard hat mal 'This is Just To Say' von William Carlos Williams auf Glasgow-Scots umgedichtet. Nun setze ich die Wandlung fort, in dem ich Leonards Bier-Gedicht auf Deutsch übertrage. Die Fortschreitung aus dem amerikanisch. über Leonard nach Deutschland kann man unten verfolgen:
This Is Just To Say              Jist ti Let Yi No                      Nur dass du es weißt
I have eaten                           ahv drank                                  hab getrunken    
the plums                              thi speshlz                                 jenen Astras
that were in                           that wurrin                                die im Kühlschrank
the icebox                             thi frij                                        waren
and which                              n thit                                         die du  
you were probably                yiwurr probbli                               wahrscheinlich
saving                                   hodn back                                  für die fete
for breakfast.                        furthi pahrti                                    aufhobst
Forgive me                            awright                                     also dann:
they were delicious               they wur great                          eins A
so sweet                                 thaht stroang                            so stark
and so cold.                            thaht cawld                              so kalt
William C. Williams             Tom Leonard                           Henry Holland
(Um meine Übersetzung Leonards Gedicht an dieser Stelle zu veröffentlichen, mache ich  vom deutschen Zitatrecht Gebrauch.)
Ein Paar Erklärungen: Leonard schreibt Glasgow-Scots nach demselben Prinzip, dass hinter das Hochdeutsch steht: Er schreibt nach der Phonemen der gesprochenen Sprache. Damit steht "thi speshlz" (Zeile 2) für "the Specials", also Tartan Specials, eine besondere starke Sorte schottisches Bier.

21 March 2014

My first podcast is broadcast: The Fall of Heidelberg

What is there left to say? Thanks to the diligent help of my colleague, Detlev Scholz, a hazy picture of whom you will find below, my first story podcast has been broadcast. My translation out of Michael Buselmeier's 'The Fall of Heidelberg', read by myself. Do feel free to post any reactions to the story at the bottom of this blog post.
(Detlev Scholz, the man with his fingers on the podcast buttons.)

Vera Burlak and Marija Martysevych: Belarus stars at Leipzig

Photo of Vera Burlak, courtesy of belaruslitteratur.blogspot.com
Are there many visitors to Germany's second largest book fair who really know what they're looking for? When I drove down last week with two colleagues from Hamburg for the day for my first ever Leipzig, the conversation in the car was full of what we know but also what we do not know about our own aspirations.

24 December 2013

Willy Brandt: Does disappointment in social democracy ever really have a beginning?

For the millions in the English speaking world who feel chronically let down by social democracy  particularly post Blair and post the exposure of the Obama illusion  it may be a comfort to discover that many German social democrats became disappointed with social democracy much earlier. Willy Brandt, who, from 1969 to 1974 became the first social democratic Chancellor since the Weimar Republic, would have been 100 this year. The German papers have been full of eulogies for the man; so it was refreshing to find the poem I've translated below giving a different perspective on Brandt, first published in the weekly newspaper Die Zeit, in December 1966. That was the month in which Brandt entered as a junior partner into a coalition government lead by Kurt Kiesinger, by this stage a CDU leader, but a man who'd previously had a moderately successful career inside the NSDAP, the Nazi party. 

Alongside Brandt's willingness to work with an ex-Nazi, there were two other main points of his coalition politics which Delius, the poet, and many others who had previously supported Brandt now found unacceptable. The first was the introduction of state of emergency legislation, referred to in the second stanza of the poem. The second was the cooperation over employment bans for political radicals, which, in practise, primarily meant Communists, or members of organisations dominated by Communists, including the Society for the Victims of the Nazi regime and for Anti-Fascists. Brandt's cooperation on this issue culminated in his Redundancy for Radicals legislation of 1972, which focused on public sector workers. 1100 people either lost their jobs or were refused jobs as a result of this act, with 2200 disciplinary procedures and 136 redundancies among teachers alone (for more details use your browser's translator software to read the Wikipedia 'Radikalenerlass' page on the subject.)

These were policies which Brandt was supporting back in 1966 already, when Delius wrote this poem. These were the policies which caused an irreparable break between many Germans, who had seen themselves as social democrats, and their former party, the SPD.

Abschied von Willy                                                             Farewell to Willy
Von Friedrich Christian Delius                                     By Friedrich Delius, trans. Henry Holland

Brandt: es ist aus. Wir machen nicht mehr mit.        Brandt: we are through. We're not playing any more. 
Viel Wut im Bauch. Die Besserwisser grinsen.            Ready to punch out. While the know it alls are grinning.
Der letzte Zipfel Hoffnung ging verschütt.                  The final coin of hope falls on the scrap heap.

Für uns ist längst krepiert, was Sieben Schwaben    What still seems good for Seven Swans like you
wie euch noch gut scheint, euch zu kopulieren.        is decrepit stuff for us, a corrupt corpus.
Den Spieß herum, es gilt zu formulieren:                    So put the foot on the other boot, shout it clear and raucous: 
Wer Notstand macht, der will den Notstand haben.   Who legislates an emergency state should know he's going to get that.                                                                                                       

Wer jetzt nicht zweifelt, zweifelt niemals mehr.        If you've no doubts now, you'll not be doubting never.
Was jetzt versaut ist, wird es lange bleiben.                      What's screwed up now, will stay that way for long.
Von Feigheit. Dummheit lässt sich nichts mehr schreiben,         On cowardice and stupidity I can not write forever
Kein Witz kommt auf. Verzweiflung nur und Spott, die treiben      With punch-lines lost; just despair, and scorn, endeavour

Uns zurück, wohin ich gar nicht will,                                           To push me back where I don't want to idle,
Verflixt noch mal, ich stecke im Idyll.                                           For chrissake, God, I'm stuck here in my idyll.

'Stuck here in my idyll': these words might also fit to Brits today who still see themselves as social democrats, but who wouldn't even consider touching the post Blair Labour Party with a barge pole. It may be a good position from which to launch satire. It's a poorer position from which to launch politics. 

19 September 2013

Clemens Meyer at Harbour Front: Go hear this man, quickly!

(Clemens Meyer at the Leipzig Book Festival, 2010)

I had got it wrong, quite, quite wrong. I'd read Katy (Derbyshire) hyping, pushing, gushing about & explaining this man on her Love German Books, but I wasn't able to trust her backing Meyer. I thought self-interest was at play, that she's only praising this guy to the heavens cause she's already had her translation of one of Meyer's books published, & maybe more are in the pipeline. (Why, actually, are you guys hanging round reading this, when you could be reading literature? -  Katy's translation of 'All the Lights' by Clemens Meyer is purchasable here.) But thank God I did read Katy communicating Meyer, even if I mis-read her. That misreading was enough to make me get a ticket to hear and see Meyer reading on the old trans-atlantic ferry boat, The Cap San Diego, two nights ago as part of the Harbour Front Festival.