Writerly recap of August & September, 2017 – stories published & sold + bits & bobs

August, and especially September, seem to have gone by in a flash. September is always a bit of a muddle, with the kids going back to school and me trying to get the hang of their schedule and trying to get back into my own schedule of writing, writing, and reading (and then more writing).... Continue Reading →


Read my story ‘Balawats portar’ / ‘The Gates of Balawat’ in SAMOVAR MAGAZINE

You can read my science fiction story 'The Gates of Balawat', originally 'Balawats portar', in the brand new issue of Samovar Magazine. Also in the issue: poetry by Salik Shah, a column by Rachel Cordasco, and fiction by Stamatis Stamatopoulos. (Next week, you will also be able to listen to the story read in both English... Continue Reading →

#PoetryMonth – @MariaHaskins on Translation

My second post at author Robert Zimmermann’s website for Poetry Month is all about translation and poetry. I used one of my poems, ‘Bird-cloak’, to illustrate some of the challenges of translating poetry. Thanks so much to Robert for having me over. Check out his website for some fantastic posts on writing in general, and poetry in particular.

A Life Among The Pages

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Maria Haskins is on the blog today for her second Poetry Month contribution! She’s sharing another poem from her collection ‘Cuts’. This time it’s a little bit different. Maria is sharing both the Swedish (original language the poem was written in) and English versions of a poem. If you remember last week’s post with the audio for S.M. Boyce’s poem A Life for Sale, I talked about how interpreting a poem can differ between reading text and listening to it. Another way a poem can change is through translation. In may ways this can be more drastic.

Before I start rambling on about this, I’ll hand the blogging reigns over to Maria. She’s more qualified to talk about translation than I am anyway. But this post has challenged me to read more work in translation, along with the original languages…even if I can’t speak them. At least I…

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Two poems by Pär Lagerkvist

Pär Lagerkvist is one of my favourite Swedish authors. His poetry is brilliant, and so is his prose. There's a sadness and longing in most of his writing: sometimes more of the longing, sometimes more of the sadness, but usually both of them tightly wound together. Lagerkvist often expresses the kind of direct, raw emotion that... Continue Reading →

Lost and found in translation: translator thoughts on poetry & the weight of words

Words can carry such different weights in different languages. This is something I'm being forcefully reminded of these days, as I'm in the final stages of translating all of my published Swedish poetry into English, aiming for publication before the end of the year. One example of what gets lost: The Swedish word "himmel" means both "sky" and "heaven". This means... Continue Reading →

Selfie with dog & an introduction

My name is Maria Haskins. As you might know from looking around this site, I’m a writer and translator, and my new ebook Odin’s Eye - a collection of science fiction short stories - is out right now. I’m working on a science fiction novel, and I blog about writing, translating, books, life, poetry and other... Continue Reading →

RIP Tomas Tranströmer

Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer has died. He won the Nobel Literature Prize in 2011, and when he won, the Swedish Academy said in the prize announcement: "through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality". Others have praised his "elegant descriptions of long Swedish winters, the rhythm of the seasons and the palpable, atmospheric... Continue Reading →

Got my Facebook Page up and running

Finally caved in and made myself a Facebook Page: just so I can blather on about myself in yet another venue (and yes, self-promoting does make me feel very self-conscious!). I've just put it up, so not a lot of content there yet, but it's got the basics. My Facebook Page.

Umberto Eco, on translation

There's a lot of truth in this quote by one of my favourite authors: Umberto Eco. Try as you might, a translated text will never equal the original. You can come close to conveying the meaning and feeling, but you can never capture it completely. And yet, it's wonderful to try.

Edward Hirsch, on translation

Strictly speaking, total translation is impossible, since languages differ and each language carries its own complex of linguistic resources, historical and social values. This is especially true in poetry, the maximal of language. It is axiomatic that in a poem there is no exact equivalent for the valences of sound, the intonations and sequences of... Continue Reading →

I’m certified

After working as a translator for some time now, it feels good to make it official. As of today, I am officially certified by the Society of Translators and Interpreters of British Columbia to translate from English to Swedish, and from Swedish to English. I took the exams back in May, and it was a... Continue Reading →

Walter Benjamin on translation

"It is the task of the translator to release in his own language that pure language that is under the spell of another, to liberate the language imprisoned in a work in his re-creation of that work." -Walter Benjamin This is such a perfect and insightful quote about translation. Once I read it, I had to... Continue Reading →

Tools of the trade

These are the two books that I use constantly when I'm translating. I use other resources as well, including online ones (hello, Google!), but these two books are my main helpers. The one on the left is my new English/Swedish and Swedish/English dictionary, and the one on the right is my Swedish book of synonyms... Continue Reading →

Music & writing

I spend a regular part of my writing life these days reviewing music. It's a great job, and gives me a chance to discover and appreciate some brilliant new rock music by new bands, as well as new music by older bands. Sometimes I do wish I could listen to all those albums while I'm... Continue Reading →

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