How to find a literary agent who deals in poetry translations?
Thread poster: Colin Ryan
Colin Ryan  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:10
Italian to English
+ ...
May 13, 2008

Hi all,
Question for those of you who might be successful literary translators. I translate medieval poetry as a sort of hobby (don't laugh... it beats watching TV...) and I'm trying to find a literary agent. I've googled til I'm blue in the face and I've checked Writers' Market and so on, but there doesn't seem to be a literary agent on the planet that handles translations of classics. I've tried writing to classics publishers, Oxford etc., but they just send me standard p**-off-and-get-an-agent emails.

If things keep going like this I'll probably self-publish. But I just want to know, ARE there any agents who deal in classics?
Thanks for your time,
Colm


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jaanisel
Local time: 04:10
English to Latvian
+ ...
Try colleagues May 13, 2008

I guess a sensible approach might be contacting those colleagues who have managed to get their translations of classics published. + there is a large territory between Oxford, Faber etc. and self-publishing. Various university presses (US), grant possibilities etc. - in any case, you should be ready for a long haul. As far as I know, in the English language environment, it can take years of effort to get translations published - even when these are worthy translations of classical texts.

[Edited at 2008-05-13 16:38]


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Sibylle Ferner
Local time: 14:10
English to German
+ ...
Try an online forum May 13, 2008

Have you tried to find like-minded translators on an online forum? I know one for German translations of this kind, which is run by a small publisher. Perhaps you can find something similar for English translations and make contacts in the right directions.

And, yes, translating poetry can be quite addictive. And with classics at least you don't have to worry about copyright.

Good luck
Sibylle


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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:10
German to English
+ ...
Maybe there aren't any? May 14, 2008

I can't imagine that there is much money to be made in medieval poetry in translation, so I would venture a guess that there aren't any agents who specifically handle this field. Not saying it should be that way, just that considering about the economic realities, it doesn't seem likely.

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Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons)
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Lasciate ogni speranza... May 14, 2008

Hi Ryan,

I don't think it works that way, at least not in Italy (but I am sure you are searching in other markets like UK). Anyway, usually this kind of translations are done by university professors, and I guess it is difficult, if not impossible, that you will ever find a way in this branch.

Buona fortuna comunque
Giuseppina


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Clare Barnes  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 03:10
Swedish to English
+ ...
there is a market... May 14, 2008

...just think about the attention paid to Faber edition of Simon Armitage's translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. My suggestion would be to try to make contact with Armitage or with other poets and talk to them about agents.

More for interest's sake, here's a blog about Armitage's translation: http://www.wishfulthinking.co.uk/poetry/2006/12/16/simon-armitage-on-gawain-and-the-green-knight/

...just googled a bit: http://www.simonarmitage.com/ on the contact page is a link to DGA, who I presume are his agents... now, they MUST deal with mediaeval poetry!

Best of luck,

Clare (definitely a potential reader!)

[Edited at 2008-05-14 10:23]


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Colin Ryan  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:10
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Lasciate OGNE speranza! May 14, 2008

Hi Giuseppina,
Thanks for your comments, but I couldn't resist - it's ogne not ogni in the original. I point it out because it's also my website, lasciateognesperanza.org!
Colm


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Colin Ryan  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:10
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, Clare! May 14, 2008



...just googled a bit: http://www.simonarmitage.com/ on the contact page is a link to DGA, who I presume are his agents... now, they MUST deal with mediaeval poetry!

Best of luck,

Clare (definitely a potential reader!)

[Edited at 2008-05-14 10:23]


Dear Clare,
Thank you for that! Why didn't I think of googling established translators of poetry - there isn't a smiley available that expresses my level of feeling stupid.
You can start right away if you want to read my work - go to http://www.lasciateognesperanza.org (Dante's Divine Comedy). The first canto is a bit weak, I was still finding my voice.

Since I've started doing this I can't stop, it's a bit like getting hooked on cryptic crosswords. Another work I'm really interested in is Orlando Furioso, a "ripping yarn".


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Robert Tucker
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:10
German to English
+ ...
Boydell & Brewer May 14, 2008

ryancolm wrote: I've tried writing to classics publishers, Oxford etc., but they just send me standard ...


Have you tried Boydell & Brewer?

One example of their publications: Late-Medieval German Women's Poetry.


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Myriam Garcia Bernabe  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:10
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
Faber & Faber May 14, 2008

Hi there,

In the UK F&F tend to publish classics and poetry. Having said that, they usually rely on academics and writers to translate new editions.

I assume that the editorial board decide on a project and contact Professor So and So who might teach the language, plus classics plus teaches literature in order to get their translations.

The other side of this coin is that some times the said academics might make use of their students and/or researchers for this.

But you never know, you could knock on a few doors and see what happens.

Good luck
Myriam


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Colin Ryan  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:10
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks to everyone, again May 16, 2008

Hi all,
I'd just like to say, thanks to all of you for your suggestions. I now have two decent leads to follow up and who knows where it might lead. And, anyway, there's always self-publishing even if it doesn't work out. Thanks again, guys - I appreciate it.
Colm


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