Esperanto USA 2010 Congress (1): Poezia Rondo

Poezia Rondo: 58-a Landa Kongreso de Esperanto USA

Esther Schor specializes in Poetry at Princeton University and published a landmark article in English on Zamenhof’s Jewish projects in the National Yiddish Book Center’s magazine Pakn Treger. On May 30 she convened a Poezia Rondo (Poetry Circle) in which translators, authors and readers recited their own material or that of others. Ralph Dumain led off with his three translations from the poetry of William Blake. Humphrey Tonkin contributed several translations of the American poet Wallace Stevens. Steven Brewer contributed both original Haiku and a translation from Emily Dickinson. Several poems by Dickinson were translated by Lee Miller. E. James Lieberman recited his own translation of Esperanto poet Baldur Ragnarsson’s “Nerimarkitaj Herboj” (Unsung Leaves). He also translated Walt Whitman’s “A Noiseless, Patient Spider” into Esperanto and Marjorie Boulton’s “Buĉotoj” (To the Butcher) into English. Esther Schor offered her Esperanto translations of Elizabeth Bishop’s “Electrical Storm” and the poem “Don’t Kill Yourself” by Carlos Drummond de Andrade. Ulrich Becker provided two original poems “Humoroj en Stato de Kaptiteco” (about New York from an immigrant’s perspective) and “Sed Ne Flori” (a love poem). Others recited Julius Balbin’s Esperanto translation of Yevgeny Yevushenko’s “Babij Jar” and William Auld’s original Esperanto poem of drunkenness, “Ebrio.” Esther Schor distributed a booklet comprised of all the poems contributed to this program, including also Istvan Ertl’s Esperanto translation of Tony Kushner’s “An Undoing World.”

I was impressed by the seriousness and the level of the contributors’ engagement with poetry and with the language. This Poezia Rondo was a showcase of Esperanto’s role as a meaningful cultural vehicle.

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