In the process of editing blogs of various kinds for a number of years, I’ve noticed that their time-oriented aspect – blogs are diaries, after all – can be something of a limitation. One doesn’t necessarily want or need the content to be held in time: where the presentation of poetry and fiction is concerned, time is largely irrelevant, though obviously in a politics blog it may be of the essence.
For some years I got involved in political blogging, mostly about Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union – but as I worked mainly as a literary translator, I eventually decided that I wanted to break away from the discussion and reporting of political issues and events and concentrate more on what I could do to promote new writing from parts of the world that are not always in the forefront of the public mind, particularly the Nordic countries, and to a certain extent the Baltic states (mainly Estonia).
In presenting literary translations and criticism, it really doesn’t matter very much when the work was produced. Chronicling the output of publishers or the actions and policies of literary and funding agencies does involve a time factor, of course, but I found that this “news-oriented” aspect of the field is a lot less important than the work itself. On one blog I found that I was posting translations of works from many different historical periods, usually only in English, without the texts of the originals, and this led me to think that it might be possible to construct some kind of website where translations, criticism, essays, and original writing in English could be blended together.
That’s essentially what I’m about here: initially to log some of my own work in translation and thoughts about the craft (yes, it’s still a diary), and also to present pieces of original writing, some of which date back decades — but hopefully also to reach out to other writers, readers and translators. And as the front page no longer has the format of a blog, with time-stamped posts, but is static (for posts, go to the “Posts” section, or click the link in the sidebar), I might be interested in developing the site into something else – maybe a place that could contain new writing from many places around the world, though usually in English, original or translated. A magazine, in other words.
David McDuff, July 2011