October 16, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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A white writer Amanda Gorman refuses to translate the work

A white writer Amanda Gorman refuses to translate the work

Author Maryke Lucas Rizneveld, who was responsible for translating the works of the African-American poet Amanda Gorman into Dutch, leaves her position to someone else following the controversy that the translation was entrusted to a white author.


Marissa GroguhMarissa Groguh
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“I am amazed at my involvement in spreading the message of Amanda Gorman and I understand people who are affected by choice. [l’éditeur] Meelenhoff to elect me, ”wrote Marie Lucas Reigneweld, recipient of the 2020 International Booker Prize, on Twitter.

So she abandons the project to translate the poem The Hill We Claim – Read by Amanda Gormann at the opening of Joe Biden – as well as a collection by the 22-year-old poet.

Criticism of the Dutch publishing house’s choice came shortly after it was announced. Journalist Janice Dule wrote an opinion piece in the national newspaper D. Voxcrant, February 25, Gorman argues that the message is “more powerful” if it translates as “spoken word, young, feminine and creative artist”. […] Noir.

The controversy has escalated since then, and Melenhoff has had to justify his decision. “Rizneveld is committed to issues of gender equality and resilience and we recognize in her the passion and struggle for a holistic society,” it said. The fact that Amanda Gorman and her team immediately responded positively to our proposal confirmed to us that Mary Lucas Rizneveld‌ had found the ideal translator. ”

The 29-year-old Dutch author later decided to quit the project, the publishing house said. “We want to learn from this situation through discussion and we’re going to take a different path with a new perspective,” Milenhoff manager Mike Le Noble said in a statement.

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In mid-February, publisher Fayard announced the appointment of Belgian-Congolese singer Lous and Yazuka for the French translation of Amanda Gorman’s collection.