Amaia Gabantxo has become a regular visitor to the blog.  We’ve had the pleasure of speaking about her both for her work teaching Basque at the University of Chicago and for her work as a translator of Basque literature into English.

We can’t stress enough how important it is not only for our culture, but for all the activities carried out in our country, to have a significant present in English.  As we speak, and as long as things don’t change, it’s the lingua franca.  It’s the language that we have to present our thoughts in if we want them to have a real chance at getting global reach.  As we see it, the defense of Basque culture and language requires us to have get everything translated: both texts in other languages into Basque, and Basque text translated into world languages.

Amaia Gabantxo is up to her neck doing exactly that, translating Basque authors’ works into English.  And now, with that creative fever that this coronavirus pandemic is lighting in restless minds, she’s decided to turn some of the poems she collected in her book “Six Basque Poets”, which she translated and had published in 2007, into video-poems.

The book she translated covers the works of six contemporary Basque authors: Bernardo Atxaga, Miren Agur Meabe, Joseba Sarrionaindia, Kirmen Uribe, Rikardo Arregi, and Felipe Juaristi.  Plus, she not only turned them into video-poems, she also got the authors of the same to participate in them!

Today, we’re including the first two.  The first is by Bernardo Atxaga, going back to a message about the first flu Adam and Eve had when they left Eden.  The second is by Rikardo Arregi, and in it, the poet empathizes with another imaginary version of himself, in a city under seige.

We’ll leave you with these first two video-poems, accompanies by their texts in Basque and English.  We’ll be including the other works into this entry as they come out, until all six are here.  We’ll also have specific entries for the remaining four.

Entries three and four (April 24, 2020) were described by the author:

The third video-poem of the series is “The Cuckoo”, a poem by Kirmen Uribe about the fundamental human desire to control and organize nature, and the ability of nature to do whatever it wants, come what may.  It’s very appropriate for this pandemic, or for what brought us to it.

The fourth video-poem is from the series “Questions”, a poem by Miren Agur Meabe in which the poet reflects on unfulfilled dreams, the ideas that were left behind on the road.  I think that many of us are asking ourselves those types of questions during this lockdown.

We’ll also leave you with the article about this artistic project that was published in the PLUS Research on Contemporary Narratives in EHUSfera.

And for those who are interested, you can purchase the book of poetry at:

ARC Publications


Adam & Life – B. Atxaga

66 Lines From the City Under Siege – R. Arregi

The cuckoo – Kirmen Uribe

Questions – Miren Agur Meabe

EHUSfera – 13/4/2020 – Euskadi

#BasqueVideoPoems ¿traducir poesía del euskara al inglés?

La creatividad florece en tiempos de #coronavirus y Amaia Gabantxo nos recuerda Six Basque Poets, un trabajo de traducción que realizó en 2007 para Arc Publications (ed. MariJo Olaziregi).

(Follow) (Automatic translation)

Last Updated on Dec 20, 2020 by About Basque Country

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