Editorial Diwan 13-14/2004

Dear & esteemed reader!

It is my pleasure to present to you Diwan 13-14 which is completely dedicated to translating. Namely, your humble editor was in Belgrade from October 23 to 27, 2003 at the 16 European Meeting of Cultural Journals of the EUROZINE network which brought together editors from 50 European cultural journals including some 30 editors from the Balkans and a few from Bosnia and Herzegovina under the heading EUROPE AND THE BALKANS: POLITICS OF TRANSLATION. According to the words of the introductory speaker, Joy Sisley from Warwick University (UK): “translating constitutes a literary system by asymmetrically flowing from one culture into another.” She went on to add: “the politics of translating are the politics of communication and information control where translating is denoted as the third space,” as a discipline “related to that of post-colonial and cultural studies”. Or, as Prof. Jose Lambert from Belgium said: “translating should be perceived as a market, as an industry in which translating is not a matter of technology, but a lie detector in a globalised society.”

That is why, in this double issue of Diwan, translating was “transferred” from the linguistic into the intercultural domain by: Zvonimir Radeljkovic, Antonio Sousa Ribeiro, Tomislav Longinovic, Francis R. Jones, Dusan I. Bjelic, Ivan Pederin and Svetlana Slapsak. Their theoretical observations about “cultural hegemony”, about “bridges between cultures,” about the “inclusiveness and exclusiveness” of the Balkan and the European identity, about the “theft of language” and the “strategies of poly-lingualism” between the “official discourse” and marginalised groups, about the “refraction” between the “source and target language” are very inspirational. And provocative for the BH public where the “monster of tri-lingualism” prescribes the official translation between Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian. And especially when “vital national interests” can serve as a reason for a veto, i.e. a moratorium for the development of post-Dayton Bosnia and Herzegovina.

However, away from the Bosnian reality, we present to you 8 contemporary American poets: Charles Bernstin, Bob Perelman, Jerom Sala (in playful translation by Dubravka Djuric), August Highland, Corey Mesler, Andrew Shelley (English by origin), Luis Cabaloquinto and Larry Jaffe (as translated by the verbose Ulvija Tanovic). Your editor did an interview with August Highland in order to present his “poetic handiwork” performed with the help of a computer which characterises his technique and poetics. Augie says: “hyper-literary fiction, next-gen nanopoetics, linguistic engineering, fusion of genres and metapoetic theatre are genres that I have created… in order to arrange… by digital means the production of my literary works… but in my heart, I am a classicist…” However, a characteristic “cyber syntax” that we see in Highland’s work is similar in its hermetical nature to the poetic genius of Tomaz Salamun (as translated by our diligent Zdravko Kecman). In his cycle “Wittgenstein’s Shadows” which we publish exclusively for the BHSM Stokavski language area, the famous Salamun shocks by unusual solutions in layers of orthography, grammar and syntax.

A special quality is given to this thematic unit by Tatjana Lukic and Danijela Kambaskovic-Sawers. These ladies have “pulled out of their sleeves” complementary selections of Australian poetry and present us with the verses of 15 poets from “down under”, from the Kangaroo continent. In the selection of Tatjana Lukic “Feeling the Pulse”, we read the poems of MTC Cronin (Margie Cronin), SK Kelen (Stephen Kelen), Jan Owen and Peter Skrzynecki. While the “Muses in Antipodes”, the selection by Danijela Kambaskovic-Sawers, offers a modern aussie poem inspired by Ancient Greece and Rome from each of the following poets: Dorothy Porter, Jean Talbot, Gwen Harwood, A. D. Hope (Alec Derwent Hope), Gig Ryan, Robert Adamson, Rosemary Dobson, Peter Porter, A.D. Cousins (Anthony Douglas Cousins), Danijela Kambaskovic-Sawers and David Malouf.

The Licina fraternal team, translators from the “far north” surprised us with the verses of Swedish poets: Bengt Emil Johnson, Lars Gustafson and Verner Aspenstrem (translated by Refik Licina) and German poetesses: Rosa Auslender and Neli Zaks (translated by Bajram Licina). Accordingly, Stevan Tontic provided us with the verses of the German poet and translator Richard Pietraß.

Zoran Djerid sends us poems by Tadeus Ruzevic from Poland, and Ferida Durakovic a comic anecdote by Gustav Murin from Slovakia. Kerima Filan has given us The Small Deck (Koncine), a famous story by the Turkish writer Haldun Taner, and Zorislav Paunkovic gives us the Hotel of the Future, the story of the until recently neglected Oset-Russian writer Gajto Gazdanov. From the collection the Theatre of Fear, Emir Salihovic has translated the verses of the Irish-Canadian poet William Patrick Woodcock.

“Lonely” among the translators, Jovica Acin wrote the story Telepathy Technique which is eductively provocative in the way it varies the possibilities of “translating” a palimpsest text about whose “appearance” and “content” we are unsure. And Tatjana Lukic, Nikola Cobic and Danijela Kambaskovic-Sawers, writers from the Diaspora, have written about the difficulties of translating their own poetry from their native language to the one they use professionally. Their thoughts on this subject have been posed on the internet list PoesisBalcanis www.topica.com. With her review entitled “The Exotic Quest for God” Tanja Stupar Trifunovic introduces us to the bestseller “Ecstasy” by the Indian author Sudir Kakar which has been translated into 91 languages.

As a commentary on this thematic unit, you may read the text “Nothing Sadder than Dead Birds” by the doyen Esad Durakovic. For, the man who rendered the “1001 Nights” in Bosnian, along with 7 golden Arabic odes and the literary meanings of the Koran, certainly has much to say on the art of translation.
The illustrations and design of this issue of Diwan are the work of Bojan Bahic and Ozren Pavlovic. This masterful team fascinates the eyes “puffy from texts” with the clarity and transparency of their visual poetics. What can we do but praise them. The same goes for the translators (of course), to whose “second-hand art” we dedicated this issue.

At the end, it is my great pleasure, dear reader, to say that Diwan is the first magazine from Bosnia and Herzegovina to become a member of the European magazine association EUROZINE www.eurozine.com. Years of trying to present the literary values of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the regional and European reader and to have interesting foreign authors included in Diwan have finally proven to be successful. As a partner of this net-magazine we will be able to present our selected authors directly at the Eurozine site and in return we can publish texts of other famous European authors.

Apart from that, from the 14 to the 17 of May 2004, in Tallin, Estonia, the 17th European Meeting of Cultural Journals was organised by the EUROZINE network. With the subject THE REPUBLIC OF LETTERS: CULTURAL JOURNALS IN A EUROPEAN PUBLIC SPACE participants at the conference, as the creators of space for the free exchange of ideas, sought forms of free discourse in the ever present “intellectual crisis” and in the public opinion “colonised” by global corporations. At least we here in the Dayton Bosnia and Herzegovina know what colonisation means…

Your editor, Dinko Delic

Tuzla, June 27, 2004.

Published 28 September 2004
Original in Bosnian

Contributed by Diwan © Diwan


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