Monday, April 17, 2017

New Zealand poetry given an Italian stage

Victoria University of Wellington’s Wai-te-ata Press has launched Florilegio di Poesia Neozelandese Contemporanea—Best New Zealand Poems (2015) Italian edition.

The publication is the second volume in The NZCLT (New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation) Collection, a poetry-in-translation series co-sponsored by the NZCLT and Wai-te-ata Press, which aims to share New Zealand poetry with the world through translation. Last year it published Best New Zealand Poems (2014) Chinese edition.

Reader in Book History and Director of Wai-te-ata Press Dr Sydney Shep says she chose Italian for this year’s poetry-in-translation edition due to the emerging interest in, and developing markets for, New Zealand writing in Italian-speaking countries.

Dr Shep says translation is a vehicle for literary works and their embodied ideas, cultures and traditions to travel the world—and New Zealand poets need more of it.

“Because translation is not literal, but rather creative, it gives the opportunity for cultural barriers to be renegotiated and cultural idiosyncrasies to be recommunicated. This sense of cross-cultural mediation is really important—we’re trying to extend the creative conversation into a cross-cultural conversation,” says Dr Shep.

“We want to profile New Zealand writing and to see what New Zealand translators can do to expose that writing through another vehicle, vessel, or voice. This translation series is demonstrating the vibrancy of New Zealand contemporary writing on an international stage.”

The book launch hosted Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature at the University of Oxford Nicola Gardini and The Italian Ambassador of New Zealand Fabrizio Marcelli. Each guest received a complimentary copy of the edition to help with the dissemination of New Zealand poetry to Italian readers around the world. Director of the Italian Institute of Culture in Sydney Donatella Cannova and the President of the Italian Chamber of Commerce New Zealand Chris Griggs, who were unable to attend, will also receive copies.

The Best New Zealand Poems (2015) Italian edition features additional forewords from the translator, Victoria PhD in Literary Translation Studies student Francesca Benocci, and the academic who first started translating New Zealand poetry into Italian, Marinella Rocca Longo from the University of Rome III.

Dr Shep says that Wai-te-ata Press commissions Literary Translation Studies PhD students whenever possible, to provide them with an opportunity for worldwide exposure and to be mentored by supervisors throughout the process of translation through to publication.

The publishing of Best New Zealand Poems (2015) Italian edition has been supported by the New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation and Creative New Zealand. Best New Zealand Poems (2015) is edited by John Newtown and includes poets Sarah Jane Barnett, Dinah Hawken, Selina Tusitala Marsh, Gregory O’Brien, Vincent O’Sullivan and John Dennison.

Copies of Best New Zealand Poems (2015) Italian edition can be purchased through Wai-te-ata Press.

Best New Zealand Poems is an annual publication coordinated through Victoria’s International Institute of Modern Letters featuring 25 poems published by New Zealand writers in a calendar year, and edited by an eminent figure in New Zealand’s literary scene

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