Poetry News

Help Lux Books Bring Sylvia Plath's Debut to Germany

By Harriet Staff

The folks over at Lux Books in Germany can certainly use some help in this worthwhile venture.

Here are some details from IndieGoGo:

Sylvia Plath's work has been translated in many languages. In Germany - one of the biggest bookmarkets in Europe - the only poetry book available by her is "Ariel" and - oddly enough - a selection of "Love Poems".

We want to publish the exceptional translation of her debut collection "The Colossus and Other Poems" translated by one of Germany's acclaimed young poets Judith Zander. We sincerely believe that the debut collection by one of the most influential American poets of her generation should be available to German readers in a bilingual edition. The German publisher of "Ariel" and "The Bell Jar" seems to be blocking all rights to the book by an option right they don't use - needless to say that they have never published an edition of "The Colossus" and it seems unclear what their plans for the future are.

We are a small Independent Publisher called luxbooks focusing on American poetry in bilingual editions. Among our authors are John Ashbery, Rae Armantrout, Mary Jo Bang, Hart Crane, H.D., Timothy Donnelly, Forrest Gander, Peter Gizzi, Ben Lerner, Sarah Manguso, George Oppen, D. A. Powell and John Updike. The translations are normally done by acclaimed German poets. Our books are regularly reviewed in national newspapers, radio and television. The leading Swiss Newspaper NZZ called us the "currently most influential Independent Poetry publisher in Germany". We can't however compete with a big publishing house on our own. We figure that we have to raise at least 6.000$ to be able to make a competitive offer.

And, Lux Books answers some FAQs:

What Happens If You Raise More Money Than You Need to Free Sylvia Plath

If we raise more money than necessary we will also:

1. - try to buy the German rights for "Crossing the Water" the last collection by Sylvia Plath (ca. 5000$)

2. - pay translation costs (ca. 2500$)

3. - pay printing and advertising costs for the book (ca. 3000$)

4. - distribute free copies of the edition to libraries

If you decide to still donate to the project when all theses costs are covered we will use any additional money for our series luxbooks.americana in which the Sylvia Plath edition will be published. Planned future projects are f.ex. selected poetry editions by Frank O'Hara, John Berryman, John Ashbery, Charles Bernstein, Lyn Hejinian.

What Happens If We Don't Get the Rights?

If we are not able to aquire the rights, we will use half of the donations to pay a translation fee to Judith Zander as her translation will remain unpublished then. We will donate the other half to the Pennsound-Archive, a web archive of preserved readings and audio documents from 20th century poets.

For more, particularly on how you can help, go here.

Originally Published: February 14th, 2012