Marike Lucas Reinfeld turns back on a translation by Black Poet


Dutch novelist and translator Marike Lucas Reinfeld recently announced her withdrawal from the project to translate Afro-American poet Amanda Gorman’s poem The Hill We Climb from English into Dutch. The decision to withdraw was published by the younger winner of the “Man Booker International Prize” on her Twitter account a few days ago, after widespread criticism received by the Dutch publishing house Meulenhoff for not choosing a black-skinned translator instead of Reinfeld. A campaign to protest the choice of a white translator, led by journalist and activist Janice Dole in a Dutch newspaper, in which she described the house’s move as an incomprehensible step, calling for choosing a young and black writer to translate the famous poem that Gorman made during the inauguration of US President Joe Biden, in which the poet and activist spoke The young woman on the arduous path that America needs in order to achieve justice, referring in some sections to the suffering that African Americans endure in the country, with the help of Afro-American oral rhythms and traditions. In the text announcing her abandonment of the project, Reinfeld expressed her enthusiasm upon being informed that she had taken over the translation of the poem, adding, “I understand the people who felt hurt by the publishing house’s decision.” For its part, the house indicated that Gorman herself had chosen Reinfeld to translate her poem, announcing that it would search for a new team to take over the task.


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