Project ‘Poets Translating Poets’ proves that poetry is more than art

“It was splendid for me,” says Indian poet Rajendra Bhandari. “We usually lose so many things by translating poems. But this time, we gained much more. We got to know the language, the culture.”
Bhandari was among the participants of a project established in 2002 by a Berlin-based center for poetry called Literaturwerkstatt. The project “Poets Translating Poets,” or PTP, aims to bring poets of foreign cultural regions into contact with German poets.

With the help of linguistic mediators, they translate poems from one language into another, like from German into French, Russian and Hebrew, and vice versa. The results of these efforts fill 13 volumes published over the years by the publishing house Wunderhorn Verlag.

“Poets Translating Poems South Asia” is a unique translation project, involving 51 lyricists working in 20 languages. Seventeen German-speaking poets encountered colleagues from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The participants of this project have demonstrated that it is actually possible to translate poetry.

Read more: Deutsche Welle

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