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2014 Compass Translation Award: Tarkovskii

March 17, 2014

The poet you can translate for a shot at the 2014 Compass Translation Award is Arsenii Tarkovskii (1907-1989). Details of how to enter are here. Some examples of his poetry: “Earthbound” (Земное, literally something like “Earthly,” perhaps implying “[The] Earthly” or “[An] Earthly [Poem],”1960) and “As Twenty-Two Years Ago” (Как двадцать два года тому назад, 1963). “Earthbound” is 12 coherent lines on how the poet prefers to be an ordinary mortal rather than some Olympian demigod cursed with immortality and indifference to human affairs. “As Twenty-Two Years Ago” is not quite as straightforward, but seems to be the poet’s reflections on the death he failed to die when the bowstring of war fired him, an arrow, into the fire, also of war. And, now that I see it’s part of a cycle of poems in memory of Marina Tsvetaeva, about her suicide during World War II. Don’t let me kill the poems with inadequate paraphrases, though; click over and read them, or others by Tarkovskii.

Tarkovskii is the father of the probably better known director Andrei Tarkovskii (1932-1986). Wikipedia tells me that the father’s poetry was included in the son’s films The MirrorStalker, and Nostalghia.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2013 contest, with translations of Mariia Petrovykh’s poetry: Josephine von Zitzewitz, Alexandra Berlina, Peter Oram, and Nora Krouk.

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