Dutch poet declines assignment to translate Gorman’s works
A writer who was chosen to translate American poet Amanda Gorman’s work into Dutch has handed back the assignment following criticism that a white author was selected to translate the words of a Black woman who is the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history. Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, who last year became the youngest writer to win the International Booker Prize with her novel “The Discomfort of Evening,” announced the decision in a Twitter post Friday.
One of the critics of the choice of Rijneveld was Janice Deul, an activist and journalist who wrote an opinion piece in the Netherlands’ national daily newspaper de Volkskrant about the topic. “Not to take anything away from Rijneveld’s qualities, but why not chose a writer who is — just like Gorman — spoken word artist, young, female and unapologetically Black.”
On Friday, Deul tweeted: “Thanks for this decision” and tagged Rijneveld and Meulenhoff.