Periscope: Poetry in Translation

Periscope is a new imprint from A Midsummer Night’s Press, devoted to poetry in translation into English. “This name reflects how, just as a periscope lets us see around corners, translation allows us to see between languages,” explains publisher Lawrence Schimel, “even if there is not always a straight line of sight, as if often the case when translating poetry, where the translator must often recreate a metaphor or meaning in the target language.”

This collection seeks to focus especially on those voices which often find it much harder to be translated, especially into English. Schimel explains that for its initial titles, Periscope has focused on women poets who have published at least two books in their own languages but have not yet had a translation into English.

According to the Translation Database compiled by translation publisher Open Letter Books, over the past two years only around 26% of the translations published in the US were by women authors. (And needless to say, poetry represents only 15-17% of translated titles in this same two-year period.)

A Midsummer Night’s Press hopes to help redress this imbalance and bring the excellent work by women poets around the globe to a wider readership through Periscope, which launches in November with three titles: One Is None by Kätlin Kaldmaa, translated from the Estonian by Miriam McIlfatrick-Ksenofontov; Anything Could Happen by Jana Putrle Srdić, translated from the Slovenian by Barbara Jurša; and Dissection by Care Santos, translated from the Spanish by Lawrence Schimel.