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Poets Translating Poets

Goethe is hosting German, Tamil and Sinhala poets who've been translating each other's poetry.

  • 39, Gregory's Road, Colombo 7

Event Starts

04 December, 2015 at 7 PM

Event Ends

04 December, 2015 at 9 PM

Entrance Fees


One German, one Tamil and one Sinhalese poet have been working together for five days at Havelock Bungalow, translating their work in conversation with each other. On December 4, they will read their translated poems. During the discussion, they will share their experience of translating each others work without knowing their languages, the difficulties faced in the process and the insights gained. If you're interested in literature, and particularly poetry, there's no reason not to check out this event.

The Project

Poets Translating Poets is a project that brings together German poets with poets from Iran, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka. It will include readings, literature festivals, book fairs, events at the Goethe-Institute, as well as a dedicated project website and extensive media coverage. This project aims to create a platform for poets from Germany and South Asia. 

The Poets

Born in 1959 in Burgstädt, Saxony, Barbara grew up in the former GDR. Trained in textile industry, worked in several jobs, hos­pital and theatre; studied from 1985 to 88 at the Institut for Literature „Joh. R. Becher“ in Leipzig. Since 1990 freelance writer, during the first years after the german unification also for newspapers and art-magazins. First volume of poems 1991 („Deutsches Roulette“, Suhrkamp Verlag), several awards and scholarships. Books of poetry, essays, translations e.g. by Gertrude Stein („Tender Buttons / Zarte knöpft“, 2004) or Samuel Beckett („Mirlitonnades / Trötentöne“ 2005). Moved 1994 from Chemnitz (the former Karl-Marx-Stadt) in the east to Duisburg, Westgermany. Collaborations with swiss and german artists and curators; auditiv and spacial text-installations.


S. Pathmanathan, former principal of Palaly Teacher’s Training College, is a poet, literary critic and translator, translating both from and into Tamil, who has been actively political during the Sri Lankan conflict - living in Jaffna throughout. He has published a collection of his own poems, Vadakkiruththal and a collection of African poems translated into Tamil. His translations of Tamil poems and stories have been published in several anthologies and journals. His latest work is Sri Lankan Tamil Poetry, An Anthology and he is the winner of several prizes including the Governor’s Award.

Ariyawansa Ranaweera is a prolific poet from the South of Sri Lanka. By now he has published more than 40 books in Sinhala and 15 of them are collections of poetry. He has also translated many foreign authors into Sinhala. He is highly acclaimed for his deft and simple use of language and his ability to obtain from ordinary landscapes, that are considered unlikely to yield or inspire poetry, thoughts and lines that are startling, revealing facets of eternal truths. He is also a freelance writer who contributes articles to national newspapers on literary and social issues.

Time & Place

7 PM sharp at the Goethe Institut. It's on Gregory's Road.

Poets Translating Poets

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