Participating in last year’s Belgrade Book Fair, including a bilingual English and Serbian interview and reading presentation of my poetry resulted the discussion of several writing, editing and art projects. Most concretely, after my return to Canada, I signed author agreements with publishers in Belgrade and Niš to publish Serbian translations of two of my published poetry books.
1. River Suite (Toronto: Insomniac Press, 1998) now has Serbian rights licenced by me to publisher Students’ Cultural Centre Niš, for inclusion in a three-books-in-one title, “Three Poets: Canada [working title]”, alongside poetry collections by Canadian poets Fraser Sutherland and Nancy Burke. The publisher has successfully applied to the Canada Council for the Arts International Translation Grant for this project. Aleksandar Blagojević and Vesna Lopicić, translators. Introduction by Vesna Lopicić. Book launches are scheduled for 24 October 2005 in Niš, and 26 October 2005 at the 50th Belgrade Book Fair.
2. Simon Simonović, publisher of RAD a.d. in Belgrade, Serbia (and President of the Belgrade Book Fair Council), has acquired Serbian rights to Casemate Poems (Waterloo, ON: Widows & Orphans, 2004) from me to add this book to their international poetry publications program. For several months now I have been working with Dubravka Ðjurić, translator. RAD has applied to the Canada Council for the Arts International Translation Grant program. The resulting book, Pesme iz kazamata, will be launched in October 2005 at the Belgrade Book Fair.
Therefore, the main purpose of this planned travel by me to Serbia is to ensure my active participation in the launches and promotional activities for these two poetry books of mine in Serbian translation with Serbian publishers. I believe this is a matter of huge importance for my literary career. At the same time I feel that it is also the beginning of even more opportunities for my artistic practices in Serbia and neighbouring countries. I have also been asked to give an artistic presentation at “Images of Canada: Interiors and Exteriors,” the 2nd International Conference organized by the Association for Canadian Studies in Serbia and Montenegro (YACS), the Canadian Embassy in Belgrade, and the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Niš, Serbia and Montenegro.
I have had previous international exposure as a poet and artist with participation in exhibitions across Europe (including concrete poetry exhibitions organized in Portugal; in touring Canadian poetry books exhibits organized by the League of Canadian Poets); publication in several journals and art exhibition catalogues in France, Italy, Portugal, England, Germany, Spain, Hungary; and a month in 1996 as a visiting writer with the Dumfries and Galloway Arts Association in southwestern Scotland (supported in part by the Canadian High Commission out of London, UK).
I am actively situated within a multilingual, multicultural group of writers in Canada (including Acadien, Argentine, Hungarian, Serbian, Ukranian, French, Central American, etc.). I’ve found myself involved in literary activities with writers, translators, publishers and educators that represent and celebrate this global community. I have worked with several translators and have previously seen the publication of a few of my poems/writings translated into French, Spanish, German and Serbian.
I feel that it is a great honour to now have two of my poetry collections translated and published in Serbia. It is something that even a year ago, while was going through a similar-to-this process of applying for travel monies, I did not have believed truly possible even though I was optimistic that being invited to participate in the Belgrade Book Fair might result in something like this. To continue meeting writers, publishers, academics and people interested in my poetry and in Canadian literature in Serbia should be good for my literary work and career. I look forward to this opportunity.
T: Highland Radio 2000
Loc: Writing office
temp: 18 C
Sound: Screaming Trees, "Butterfly"