Syracuse University Press has announced the publication of a bilingual edition of Ghareeb Iskander’s Gilgamesh’s Snake and Other Poems, winner of the 2015 King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies Translation of Arabic Literature Award:
The University of Arkansas-based award is typically announced in November, and the news must’ve been been publicly aired somewhere.
Gilgamesh’s Snake and Other Poems was co-translated by the author and Scottish poet John Glenday. They began working together, with Glenday translating Iskander’s work, during the Reel Iraq festival.
Iskander is an Iraqi poet living in London who has published both collections of poetry and critical work, while John Glenday is an award-winning Scottish poet and translator. In a previous interview, Iskander said this about the origins of their shared translations:
The translations [at Reel Iraq] have been done literally through Lauran Pyott (Arabic / English) Hoshang Waziri (Kurdish / English), and Dina Mousawi helped in interpreting between the poets. In Shaqlawa in Erbil we did quite few translations. And as poets we had to work poetically on these translations. It was like an intensive course, but it was really useful and enjoyable. This is indeed what was special, enjoyable, and therefore different about this festival.
It’s excellent to see another of the University of Arkansas winners published in a bilingual edition. The 2014 co-winner, Hisham Bustani’s The Perception of Meaning, trans. Thoraya El Rayyes, was also published in a bilingual format.
You can see Glenday reciting his co-translations of Iskander’s poetry in 2013: