Promoting Poetry in Scotland

Translation was central to Edwin Morgan’s activity as a poet. His Collected Translations (Carcanet, 1996) is as voluminous as his own Collected Poems (Carcanet, 1990) and his lifelong commitment to making the voices of foreign cultures ring out in English and Scots was never a secondary preoccupation. During the years he wrote many of his most popular and enduring collections he was just as busy translating from a vast array of world languages. The Edwin Morgan Trust exits to help perpetuate Morgan’s interests, among them his commitment to young people and to translation. 2014 witnessed the successful launch of the biennial Edwin Morgan Award for poetry which goes to a young poet under the age of 30. In 2015 the Trust sponsored the first of a series of biennial translation events that will bring some of the world’s leading foreign language poets to Scotland to participate in workshops and readings alongside Scottish poets. It is intended that these should alternate with the Award.

In May 2015 the Trust brought some leading Slovakian poets to Scotland. Maria Ferenčuhová, Jan Gavura and British poet and translator James Sutherland Smith met up with the Scottish poets Gerrie Fellows, Juana Adcock and myself at the Scottish Poetry Library for a weekend of intense translation activity, ably guided by the then Director of the Scottish Poetry Library, Robyn Marsack. The pamphlet linked to below offers some of the fruits of those endeavours and a glimpse into the process of translation itself.

I would say that to translate poetry well, you need not only great concentration, but a peculiar mixture of knowledge and feeling. It is a hard art, but it has its rewards.

—Edwin Morgan, New Hungarian Quarterly, 1967

Slovakian Translation Workshop Pamphlet

In May 2017 the Trust funded a workshop with Portuguese and Scottish poets

Three acclaimed Portuguese poets — Andreia C. Faria, Ricardo Marques, Miguel Martins — worked closely with Edwin Morgan Prize-winning poet Jane McKie, the runner-up to the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award 2016 Miriam Nash, and Whitbread Poetry Prize-shortlisted Richard Price to create new renderings of their poems for a Scottish context. In the days of translation activity at the Scottish Poetry Library, facilitated by poet Tom Pow, the Portuguese poets also translated the work of their Scottish colleagues.

Portuguese Translation Workshop Pamphlet