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A conversation with translator Maia Evrona

Transom:
Is it possible for the original text to be reborn through the translator?

Evrona:
Yes!

Transom:
As the translator of these poems, what was the most difficult part of your task in bringing Sutzkever’s text into English, and what about his work do you most look forward to sharing with an English-language audience?

Evrona:
The most difficult part of translating these poems was simply creating real poetry in English, poetry with grace rather than the awkwardness that can mark a poor translation. As for what I most look forward to sharing with English readers, Sutzkever’s work has an imagination and lyricism that are informed both by his sensibilities as a poet and by his life experience. I think these qualities may be refreshing for English readers, and I appreciate that they are packaged in seemingly conventional quatrains: The form focuses the reader’s attention on just how vast Sutzkever’s imagination was.