Deemed too white to translate the black poet Amanda Gorman, she resigns after an “outcry”

In the Netherlands, Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, the translator of the young star who had caused a sensation during the inauguration of Joe Biden, preferred to throw in the towel after many criticisms on his ability to understand the work of an author colored.

A Dutch novelist has resigned as translator of poet Amanda Gorman, the young black star in the inauguration of US President Joe Biden, after an outcry that a black translator was not chosen.

Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, who became the youngest winner of the International Booker Prize for her novel last year at age 29 Evening discomfort, had been chosen for this job as a translator by the Dutch publisher Meulenhoff.

Amanda Gorman at the inauguration of Joe Biden. PATRICK SEMANSKY / POOL / AFP

But after criticism in the Netherlands over the choice of a white translator, Marieke Lucas Rijneveld announced her resignation from her job as translator of Gorman’s work, The Hill We Climb.

“My heart and my mind are still filled with the events of these last days”, said Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, Monday evening on Twitter, adding to want to publish a poem on the controversy of recent days, entitled “Poetry unites, reconciles and heals”.

The choice as translator of Marieke Lucas Rijneveld – whose novel describes the effects of a tragedy on a religious family of cattle herders, from the point of view of a young girl – had triggered strong reactions on the social networks of Netherlands.

I would have put all my love into translating Amanda’s work, considering that the biggest task is to keep her strength, tone and style

Marieke Lucas Rijneveld

Activist Janice Deul, who is black, said it was“An incomprehensible choice”, adding understanding people “Who have expressed their pain, frustration, anger and disappointment on social media.” According to her, the publishing house missed a “opportunity” by not employing a black person to translate Amanda Gorman’s work. Marieke Lucas Rijneveld is “White, non-binary and has no experience in this area”, she asserted.

Marieke Lucas Rijneveld declared herself shocked on Friday “By the outcry” around his “Involvement in spreading Amanda Gorman’s message”. “I understand the people who feel hurt by the choice of Meulenhoff”, she said on Twitter.

Marieke Lucas Rijneveld claimed to always have the support of Amanda Gorman’s team, adding that it would have been a “Formidable and honorable mission” to translate his poetry. “I would have put all my love into translating Amanda’s work, considering that the biggest task is to keep its strength, tone and style”, she added.

Amanda Gorman, 22, became an international celebrity after reciting at the inauguration of US President Joe Biden, The Hill We Climb, a poem inspired by the attack on the US Capitol and in which she declares that democracy “Can never be defeated definitively”.

The French translation of Amanda Gorman’s work is produced by the Belgian-Congolese singer Marie-Pierra Kakoma, who bears the stage name Lous and the Yakuza.

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Deemed too white to translate the black poet Amanda Gorman, she resigns after an “outcry”

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