Translation Poetry Contest / Norwegian
Thread poster: Christian Schoenberg

Christian Schoenberg  Identity Verified
United States
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Member (2004)
Danish to English
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Oct 19, 2009

Kære Alle,

Foranlediget af "johan DK"'s spørgsmål... og med tak til Jeannette Brammer fra det danske forum har mine Tollund-partnere og jeg arrangeret en "mikro-konkurrence" (med behørig tilladelse fra - men uden tilknytning til - ProZ)... More information at


The first annual Tollund Translation Prize for Poetry challenges translators to recreate the words of emerging English-language poets in the Nordic languages.

This contest is different from other poetry translation contests in that it is on a set subject. We choose the particular poems for translation (in this case, three sonnets) and then select the best renderings into Swedish, Danish and Norwegian based on the translator’s creativity, resourcefulness and skill.

The three winners will be awarded USD 300.00 each and will appear on the popular blog and will be submitted for possible publication in Scandinavian literary magazines.

The contest is open to everyone, regardless of nationality or residence.

English into Swedish/Danish/Norwegian

February 1, 2010

February 15, 2010

Please submit entries directly via the file-upload function at Be sure to include your contact details: name, address, telephone number and e-mail.


Into Danish:

Outsider Art
One day we will be unsurprised to learn
That a revered talent or rare technique
Is simply the effect of a rowdy gland—
Still, prodigies are armed with talents unearned.
Genes clarify the genius and the freak
And prove we descend from a feral band.
We may slowly breed it out, dose it clean,
But somewhere it will leak through, that wild view,
That baffling light, waking and departure
From what has gone before—things never seen
Or dreamed of, all wisdom thrown askew,
The clear view smeared to a brilliant blur—
Fuse consumed till it hits ammunition,
The cruel moment something truly new begins.

Into Swedish:

Soprano’s Lament
Monday night my waitress made her debut
At Carnegie hall. Now I’ve heard it all.
I watch as others arrive and succeed,
Bump into a wall and hammer right through.
All my plans and wishes seem merely to stall,
And my looks, slowly, are going to seed.
As if I’m still, on a subway platform,
Crowds part around me, with destinations
They discern, agree upon, and can find.
I dream, rehearse, perform, perform, perform,
Forgo family affairs and long vacations.
Life is like a watch I will never rewind.
I hear she’s good, and she is a looker.
One more scotch. Over here. Here. Oh, fuck her.

Into Norwegian:

Love Songs
For Jon Stallworthy
Some will confess they are sick of love songs,
And they could well say the same of death poems.
You’d think one of each of these would last us,
So why keep on about romantic wrongs,
Trysts, flings, long stares, and sinister dial tones,
Early hopes of love replaced by certain loss?
We all learn adoration and lust go
Away at last, and every bright young thing,
Vivid child, doting bride, is a goner.
At long last the earth too will spin out, throw
Itself flaming onto the sun, and fling
Our species off like fleas or needling burrs.
Some are in love with death, others kill for love;
Perhaps as we’re told: as below, so above.

© 2009 Ernest Hilbert. The poems may be reproduced for the purposes of publicizing this contest.

Ernest Hilbert is the editor of the Contemporary Poetry Review. He was educated at Oxford University, where he edited the Oxford Quarterly. He later became the poetry editor for Random House’s magazine Bold Type in New York City. He is currently an antiquarian book dealer in Philadelphia, where he lives with his wife, a classical archaeologist.

“Hilbert is one of our best rhymers since Robert Frost, and his poems have been compared by superb poets to those of John Berryman and Robert Lowell. We haven’t had a poetry like his—both seriously tough-minded and wryly self-chiding—to enjoy and mull over for a long time.”

—Alice Quinn, Executive Director, the Poetry Society of America

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Translation Poetry Contest / Norwegian

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