Monday, 30 August 2010

Reading translation - Hey, Big Spender

Read, chosen and posted my long list for the Stephen Spender to organiser Robina, who will then inform all four judges of everyone else's list. Then a jolly day in London to thrash things out.

There are three categories: 14 and under; 18 and under; and Open.

Naturally I don't want to give any clues to my own list at this stage so just to note: last year La Fontaine was leading the junior brackets, this year its Catullus. (What's the world coming to, I ask you?) In fact Catullus is this year's poet of choice with some thirty poems across all ages. Rilkes are doing well as are Verlaines, Rimbauds and Baudelaires. Goethes are down this year, Neruda hangs in there, Ovids are steady. Having won the World Cup the Spanish are coming strong. The usual suspects. Dante has been playing for Italy a long time now and looks likely to go on but gets strong, if melancholy, support from Leopardi and Pavese. Good as ever to see the Dutch and the Polish. But there's Portuguese, Arabic, Kurdish, Afrikaans, modern Greek, Yiddish, Serbian, Hungarian, Chinese, Japanese, Welsh, Russian, Turkish, Old Norse, Danish, Gaelic, Irish, Bengali, Gurmukhi, Anglo-Saxon and even Romansh. Sapphos are on the rise in the Ancient Greek market.

There is some rather brilliant work in there and poets I have never come across.

I read and read then one or other piece of work leaps up and slaps me right across the face. Tomorrow night to London for Wednesday at Kingston University for this.

and a quick trip to BBC World Service at lunch time to record this (to be broadcast Sunday and on BBCi, links to be provided),

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