'Know yourself and in that instant
Know the Other and see therefore
Orient and Occident
Cannot be parted for evermore'
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, West-Eastern Divan
A New Divan
A Lyrical Dialogue between East and West
With forewords by Daniel Barenboim and Mariam C. Said
Edited by Bill Swainson and Barbara Haus Schwepcke
A New Divan is a Gingko project that will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Goethe’s West-Eastern Divan (1819). This ambitious anthology brings together new poems by twenty-four leading poets – 12 from the ‘East’ and 12 from the ‘West’ – in a truly international poetic dialogue inspired by the culture of the Other. The poets come from across the East (from Morocco to Turkey, Syria to Afghanistan) and from across the West (from Germany to Mexico, Estonia to Brazil). The new poems respond to the titles of the twelve books of Goethe’s original Divan, including ‘The Poet’, ‘Love’, ‘Ill-humour’, ‘The Cup-Bearer’, ‘The Tyrant’ and ‘Paradise’, and draw on the distinctive poetic forms of the cultures of the poets taking part. Twenty-two English-language poets have created English versions of the poems not originally written in English, either by direct translation or by working with a literal translation.
A New Divan are accompanied by six essays exploring the differences and similarities between Eastern and Western poetry and discussing the challenges of literary and cultural translation. The essays enhance and complement the poems, mirroring Goethe’s original notes and commentary. Contributors are Robyn Creswell, Narguess Farzad, Rajmohan Gandhi, Kadhim Jihad Hassan, Stefan Weidner and Sibylle Wentker.
The commissioned poets included in A New Divan were chosen with the help of two principal advisors: the Mexican-British poet Michael Schmidt, director of Carcanet Press, and the German poet Joachim Sartorius, formerly overall director of the Goethe Institut. We have also been greatly helped by Samuel Shimon and Margaret Obank of Banipal (the magazine of modern Arab literature), Narguess Farzad of SOAS and Alexandra Dugdale, former editor of Modern Poetry in Translation.
UK publication date: June 2019
Format: Royal Hardback
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|Eastern Poets||English-Language Poets|
|Abbas Beydoun (Lebanon)||Bill Manhire|
|Adonis (Syria)||Khaled Mattawa|
|Fadhil Al-Azzawi (Iraq)||Jorie Graham|
|Amjad Nasser (Jordan)||Fady Joudah|
|Fatemeh Shams (Iran)||Dick Davis|
|Gonca Özmen (Turkey)||Jo Shapcott|
|Hafez Mousavi (Iran)||Daisy Fried|
|Iman Mersal (Egypt)||Elaine Feinstein|
|Mohammed Bennis (Morocco)||Sinéad Morrissey|
|Mourid Barghouti (Palestine)||George Szirtes|
|Nujoom Al-Ghanem (UAE)||Doireann Ní Ghríofa|
|Reza Mohammadi (Afghanistan)||Nick Laird|
|Western Poets||English-Language Poets|
|Antonella Anedda (Italy)||Jamie McKendrick|
|Homero Aridjis (Mexico)||Kathleen Jamie|
|Angélica Freitas (Brazil)||Tara Bergin|
|Durs Grünbein (Germany)||Matthew Sweeney|
|Clara Janés (Spain)||Lavinia Greenlaw|
|Jaan Kaplinski (Estonia)||Sasha Dugdale|
|Khaled Mattawa (USA)||–|
|Gilles Ortlieb (France)||Sean O’Brien|
|Don Paterson (UK)||–|
|Raoul Schrott (Austria)||Paul Farley|
|Aleš Šteger (Slovenia)||Brian Henry|
|Jan Wagner (Germany)||Robin Robertson|
- British Library, London, 23 May: ‘The Poet and Suleika: a West-Eastern Dialogue in Poetry and Music’
- Hay-on-Wye Literary Festival, 24 May: ‘A New Divan: A lyrical dialogue between East & West’
- BRISMES, Leeds, 24 – 27 June: ‘Goethe’s West-Eastern Divan 200 years on’
- Bradford Literature Festival, 29 June: ‘From Hafiz to Goethe: a West-Eastern Dialogue in Poetry and Music’
- Shubbak Festival (at John Sandoe Books), 2 July: ‘A New Divan: Tyranny in Translation’: with poets Mourid Barghouti and George Szirtes. Starts 6.30pm. Ticket price: £10.00. Booking essential via firstname.lastname@example.org
- Edinburgh International Book Festival, 14 and 15 August: ‘The Divan Sessions’ (West-Eastern Divan readings at 2.15-3.15pm on Wednesday 14 August, and the New Divan readings at 6.00–7.30pm on Thursday 15 August)
- Goethe Haus, Frankfurt, 22 October: ‘Goethe’s West-östlicher Divan: Hendrik Birus in conversation with Anne Bohnenkamp-Renken’
- Barenboim-Said Akademie, Berlin, 18-20 November: ‘A New Divan: A Festival of Music and Poetry’: with Matthias Énard, Nawal El Saadawi, poets from A New Divan, and the West–Eastern Divan Orchestra.
'Is that leaf one and lonely?
In itself in two divided?
Is it two that have decided
To be seen as one leaf only?'
--Anthea Bell's translation from Goethe's 'Gingko biloba' (1815)
To coincide with the publication of A New Divan, Gingko is delighted to be publishing a new English translation of Goethe’s West-Eastern Divan (1819) by Professor Eric Ormsby, two hundred years on from the publication of Goethe’s original work.
Goethe’s Lyrical Dialogue with Hafiz
Translated by Eric Ormsby
Goethe’s West-Eastern Divan was a very personal attempt to broaden the horizons of European readers by entering into a lyrical yet scholarly dialogue with the Other. From the time of the Persian Wars, the Orient had been seen as alien, as a threat to the West; a threat that was central to the formation of Western identity. This new, annotated prose translation by the poet and scholar, Eric Ormsby, includes for the first time a translation of the poet’s remarkable prose commentary on the Islamic world (‘For Better Understanding . . .’). With this bilingual edition Gingko hopes not only to make a significant contribution to the study of this quintessential German poet, but, at a time of renewed western unease about the Other, to open up the rich cultural world of Islam.
UK publication date: September 2019
Format: Royal Hardback