Wednesday, 11 March 2009
Books and publishers
This is the cover of the original Danish edition of Pia Tafdrup's collection Tarkovskijs heste (Gyldendal, 2006), which I've translated into English, together with another collection of her poetry, Hvalerne i Paris (Gyldendal, 2002). Both translations are now scheduled to be published together as one book by Bloodaxe in January 2010, and I have a Bloodaxe contract, as does the poet herself.
The translations would probably have appeared some time ago, had there not been a) a disagreement with the publisher about whether the books should appear separately or as a single volume b) a long delay in the publisher's obtaining an ACE grant for the book (a grant from Kunststyrelsen has already been obtained) and c) a disagreement about the cover art.
Originally the Bloodaxe volume, which is to contain both collections and will bear the title Tarkovsky's Horses and Other Poems, was supposed to have the same cover art as the Danish edition pictured here -- and it was the cover preferred by Pia Tafdrup herself. But quite late in the proceedings, Bloodaxe informed us that this cover didn't suit their publishing style -- they wanted to choose another cover, preferably a frame from the concluding moments of Tarkovsky's film Andrei Rublyov (1966). We agreed to this, but negotiations in obtaining permission from the Russian film studio to use the image on the cover are taking a very long time.
It all goes to show, I guess, that the path of publication is not always a smooth one, especially where several different interests and agencies are involved. Translators often don't really have much say, the authors are more or less at the mercy of the (for them, foreign) publisher, and sometimes one wonders whether there might not be a simpler and more efficient way of delivering books to the public.