Center For Arts + Social Justice Fellowship Grant

https://vcfa.edu/center-for-arts…/center-fellowships/

I am honored to accept the Center for Arts + Social Justice Fellowship at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, which will support my book of Romani poetry in translation. I am a first-generation American of Romani Hungarian heritage, and I am translating the work of Romani poets such as Alexandre Romanès, Magda Szécsi, and Bronislawa Wajs (a.k.a. Papusza), many of whom have not yet been translated into English. Poetry can be a powerful vehicle to bear witness to authentic Romani stories that need to be told. History gives us evidence for the forced exodus of Roma from India, 500+ years of Romani slavery, and the Porajmos (genocide of Roma during WWII). Today, many Romani people are disenfranchised and continue to suffer from systemic and targeted racism. Meanwhile, the ‘G*psy’ image in pop culture has largely been written by non-Roma. Romani scholar Ian Hancock writes about how this is problematic and has resulted in the emergence of a fictitious ‘G*psy’ stereotype. Even in the face of oppression, the Romani people have remained resilient and have a vibrant and rich culture with a shared language and traditions that have endured centuries. Reading Romani poetry in translation is invaluable to our development of more multi-faceted perspectives and part of the work of anti-bias education. Personally, I agree with Edith Grossman’s assessment in her book Why Translation Matters, that ‘Translation always helps us to know, to see from a different angle, to attribute new value to what once may have been unfamiliar. As nations and as individuals, we have a critical need for that understanding and insight. The alternative is unthinkable.’” I am thankful to my writing and poetry mentors Kathleen Spivack, Mark Cox, Philip Metres, Rick Jackson, and Tomás Q. Morín www.diananorma.com | Twitter: @DNSwrites | Instagram: @DianaNormaWrites

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