International Literary Quarterly: November Issue
Volta: A Multilingual Anthology
This unusual anthology contains seventy-five poems in seventy-five languages. Seventy-four of these poems are translations of one poem, the seventy-fifth. As Richard Berengarten writes in his introduction, this project is “a celebration of multiculturalism and diversity”. Apart from invoking the pleasure of learning about different languages, the anthology opens up many questions. For example: How many languages could this project extend to? Is translatability a universal feature of language itself? What does ‘originality’ actually mean? What difference is there between writing and translating a poem? And could the fact that these poems come from all over the world bear out Octavio Paz’s claim: “For the first time in our history, we are contemporaries of all humanity”?
The project itself is really interesting, as is Berengarten’s introduction. Definitely worth checking out if for no other reason than to see the myriad languages this poem is translated into . . .