February 26, 2013

National Translation Month: Three Bulgarian poets translated by Katerina Stoykova-Klemer

Katerina Stoykova-Klemer

I am tremendously thankful to Claudia Serea for inviting me to introduce my new translation and publishing project. I am editing and (largely) translating an anthology of contemporary Bulgarian poetry. It is a distinct honor and privilege to present the English-speaking readers with a selection of brilliant, engaging, innovative and new poems by living, currently active Bulgarian poets. The anthology is still a work-in-progress, and it is expected to be published in June/July 2013 by Accents Publishing. I love every poem in the book, but I wanted to share with the readers of The Writing Center three poems by three authors. These are Vanya Angelova, Krasimir Vardyev, and Petar Tchouhov. I hope you enjoy their work.

I also want to say that I think the idea of National Translation Month is fantastic and admirable. Great work and thank you for all you do!

—Katerina Stoykova-Klemer


the horse’s nostrils breathe.
And the moist eye
is half-shut on purpose
Since he knows,
why does he need to see?
Only the habit
still prevents him
from rattling his hoofs
towards the stars.

Author: Vanya Angelova
Translated by: Katerina Stoykova-Klemer

Vanya Angelova was born in 1953. She holds a master’s degree in slavic philology. She is the author of the poetry books "Rain of Chinese Drops" (2003) and "The Possible Travel Notes of the Body" (2010).

the good son K.,

it's closing time dad
turn off the luminaries
close the taps of the springs
drain the lakes
fold the trees wither the fruit
arm the alarm of the forbidden one
feed the animals
check the ropes of the dome
kiss the snake goodnight
turn off the source
energy is expensive
keep grandpa’s inheritance
draw the shutters roll down the blinds
don’t be late for mom’s supper
finally free at last
go to the harbor’s tavern
to make passes at the white Russian girls
like a good father
and I, the good son
am going to kill my brother

Author: Krasimir Vardyev
Translated from Bulgarian: Katerina Stoykova-Klemer

Krasimir Vardyev was born in 1978. He is the recipient of ten national literary awards. He is the author of two poetry books and is about to publish a third one. His poetry has never before been translated or published in English.


Only her dress
is red
in the black-and-white photo
but this is not proof
of murder

it is not proof
of love

the night train passes
from one date to another
the door of the cabin opens

Only his eyes
are blue
in the black-and-white photo
but this is not a sign of weakness

nor is it a sign
of life

the night train passes
from one darkness
to another
the door of the cabin closes

Petar Tchouhov
Translated from Bulgarian: Katerina Stoykova-Klemer

Petar Tchouhov is the author of 11 books of poetry. He has received international recognition for his haiku. His work has been translated in many languages. He writes and performs music in several bands.

Katerina Stoykova-Klemer is the author of three poetry books, most recently The Porcupine of Mind (Broadstone Books, 2012). Her first poetry book, the bilingual The Air around the Butterfly (Fakel Express, 2009), won the 2010 Pencho’s Oak award, given annually to recognize literary contribution to contemporary Bulgarian culture. She hosts Accents – a radio show for literature, art and culture on WRFL, 88.1 FM, Lexington. In January 2010, Katerina launched Accents Publishing. Katerina is acting in the lead role in the independent feature film Diamond Days, to be released in 2013. Her text/audio blog featuring matters of writing and publishing can be found at http://katerinaklemer.com/ownaccent/

Accents Publishing:  http://www.accents-publishing.com/
Katerina’s website:  http://katerinaklemer.com/

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