VERSschmuggel / reVERSible

The Haus für Poesie has developed its very own method of translating poetry. The principle is simple: poets writing in German work in pairs with fellow poets writing in another language on translating each other’s poetry, without necessarily needing to understand each other’s languages. This is made possible with the mediation of interpreters and gloss translations and so, over several days, in teams of three, they “smuggle” their verses, stylistic contexts and cultural connotations across the borders of language.

The method turns out to be ideal for poetry because the poets themselves are directly involved in the process of translation and can authorize the results. These translation workshops are called VERSschmuggel / reVERSible. They are organized every year as part of the international poetry festival poesiefestival berlin. The poet pairs present the results of their collaboration to the audience during a bilingual reading at the poesiefestival berlin. The results are then published in a bilingual anthology that appears in Germany and the partner country.

I headed this project in the years 2018-2021.

The results of each edition of the project were published as anthologies with the publishing house Wunderhorn:

VERSschmuggel Belarus-Germany

VERSschmuggel Canada-Germany

VERSschmuggel USA-Germany