The first Spanish translation of Okigbo’s influential poetry, and one of few translations of African literature in South America.
Don’t Let Him Die
We intend to translate the poetry collection Labyrinths, with Path of Thunder, by the major Nigerian English-language poet Christopher Okigbo (1930-1967), into Spanish. The translation, already endorsed by the Christopher Okigbo Foundation and backed by an independent publishing house, will be published in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It will be further distributed in Mexico (Mexico City) and Chile (Santiago), robust literary markets both. The money we are seeking will go towards the costs of publication, translation rights, distribution, and publicity - any additional support will be used for increasing the total number of copies, and extending distribution to Peru (Lima) and Ecuador (Quito).
To date, publications of African literature in Argentina, and indeed throughout South America – with the mildly abashed exceptions of Brazil and Mexico – are scant, early-stilled no doubt by language walls. Our immediate intention is to bring to readers a deep and serious literature, yet to penetrate the continent’s editorial carapace, in a language they understand; the broader ambition, through melded voice, artistry and poetic resource, to create a precedent for further translations of African literature into Spanish, in Argentina, and South America. Christopher Okigbo, as one of the most influential poets of the twentieth century, is where we start.
Thanks for your support, and have a sweet day.
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The principal difficulties are three:
First, in importance and creative resource, the translation itself. In Okigbo's poetry, often hermetic, flow allusion, reference, quotation, from the most disparate of sources. Beyond identifying these, the rub is to hold them in Spanish, where they come from Igbo, or English (e.g. Pound, Eliot, Sandburg), and to weigh and bend them where originally they came from Spanish (Neruda, Hernández, Lorca). Obi is an academic specializing in Nigerian literature in English, Laura a poet. Both voices will hold the translation.
Second, comes the challenge born of the new, or innovative. Within the immediate Argentine context which is ours, not conversant with African literature, we must draw out and sustain a finer awareness among the large, reading public. We are fortunate to be an active part of a community, in Buenos Aires and beyond, which embraces academia, publishing, radio, cinema, literature. We intend to draw these together in publicizing the publication.
Third, distribution. Similar logistical issues are attendant upon the marketing of the book beyond Argentina. In both Mexico City and Santiago, we have already constituted a firm network within the local publishing industry, which will take charge of the publicity, and placement, of the translation.
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