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.

One Is None by Kätlin Kaldmaa

Kaldmaa_coverI left
the island the first day the sun set,
the first minute – it took a shard from my heart
to the North Sea floor. Only
there is my heart a whole. I
can hear it still.
From “Sea of Love”

Kätlin Kaldmaa’s One is None, translated into English by Miriam McIlfatrick-Ksenofontov, will dazzle readers with its frank, erotic explorations of love and despair.

Kaldmaa is a poet of grace and elegance, yet she is also playful and mischievous–whether writing about love or social responsibility.

Having herself translated many authors (and from many different languages) into Estonian, it is no surprise that Kaldmaa’s poems are global in their scope–nor that she, at the same time, breaks down notions of nationhood, in a series of poems about lovers from different countries. Through humor and love, Kaldmaa explores and illuminates what it means to be human.

Kätlin Kaldmaa is an Estonian poet, writer, translator and literary critic. She has published four collections of poetry, two books for children, an autobiographical work of non-fiction, and a novel. She has translated over 40 books into Estonian by authors such as Jeanette Winterson, Aphra Behn, Michael Ondaatje, Ali Smith, Goran Simić and Gabriel García Márquez. Her own poems have been translated into Arabic, English, Finnish, French, German, Korean, Latin, Japanese, Russian, Slovenian, and Spanish. She is the President of Estonian PEN.

One is None
by Kätlin Kaldmaa
translated by Miriam McIlfatrick-Ksenofontov
Periscope 01

ISBN-13: 978-1-938334-11-5

48 pages/perfect bound
Publication date: 1 November 2014

US: $10.95
UK: £6.99
Europe: 8,50€


Anything Could Happen by Jana Putrle Srdić

We push what deSrdic_coverprives us of light out
of our focus, heaping wobbly chairs,
unused tables, empty frames
into our guestroom. Some spaces we never
use, at least not with
each other.
From “The Dark Green Poem”

Jana Putrle Srdić’s poetry is widely published in both her native Slovenia and abroad (she’s been translated into twelve languages). Anything Could Happen is the first collection of work in English.

This sampling of poems from her first three collections shows off her range of subjects and language–work that is sometimes dark, sometimes playful, but always reveals her astute and acerbic eye on culture and, especially, relationships.

Jana Putrle Srdić (1975, Ljubljana) is a poet, art film reviewer, and translator of poetry who lives in Ljubljana, where she works as a visual art producer. She has published three collections of poems to date, and also translates poetry from English, Russian, and Serbian, including collections by Robert Hass, Sapphire, Ana Ristović, and other authors.

Anything Could Happen
by Jana Putrle Srdić
translated by Barbara Jurša
Periscope 02

ISBN: 978-1-938334-13-9

48 pages/perfect bound
Publication date: 1 November 2014

US: $10.95
UK: £6.99
Europe: 8,50€


Dissection by Care Santos

Santos_coverIf you’ve reached here
and you’re still breathing
you’ve already paid for everything you’ve done.

While best-known for her prose, award-winning novelist Care Santos has also published one collection of poems: Dissection won the Carmen Conde Prize in 2007 and appears here in English translation for the first time.

In poems filled with astute and acerbic observations, Santos mercilessly dissects her own life to cut to the quick of what it means to be a woman–and in love–in the modern world.

Often turning to humor and self-deprecation to expose the flaws in her relationships–or perhaps in all relationships?–these poems are sure to resonate for all readers who have ever (nervously, joyously, selflessly) given their heart to another.

Care Santos is one of Spain’s most versatile and prolific writers. Writing in both Catalan and Spanish, and for both adults and young readers, she is the author of over 40 books in different genres, including novels, short story collections, young adult and children’s books, etc. Her most recent adult novel, Desig de xocolata, won the 34th Ramon Llull Prize. Her work has also been translated into Basque, Galician, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Korean, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Swedish, as well as English. She lives with her family in Mataró, Barcelona.

by Care Santos
translated by Lawrence Schimel
Periscope 03

ISBN-13: 978-1-938334-12-2

56 pages/perfect bound
Publication date: 1 November 2014

US: $11.95
UK: £7.50
Europe: 9.00€