How can I get poetry translations published?
February 23, 2012 11:35 AM   Subscribe

How can I get my translations of a deceased poet's work published?

I have translated about 40 pages of poetry by a poet who was active from roughly 1930-1980 and died in the early 80s. No other English translations of this work currently exist. I did this as part of an academic project, but I'd like to see about getting the work published. I just don't know the first thing about international copyright law, public domain, rights, whether or not to try to publish poems one by one in literary journals or in a book, etc. I suspect I don't even know the right questions to ask. Can any MeFites help me out and point me in the right direction? I'm not even sure where to start. Thanks!
posted by xenophile to Writing & Language (5 answers total)
You might start by seeing if the poet had a literary executor.
posted by jquinby at 11:37 AM on February 23, 2012

Journals are going to want to know you have the appropriate clearances and permissions.

Another route to take is to contact the poet's publisher(s) to find out who is currently managing the rights.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:52 AM on February 23, 2012

Here's a step-by-step:

A) Ascertain who is managing the poet's intellectual property rights.
B) Contact them and tell them of your plan, and ask for permission to publish.
C) If permission is forthcoming, submit translated poems to the appropriate journals. Poets and Writers magazine and its online forums are the key resource for figuring out where to submit in the US.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:05 PM on February 23, 2012

If the original poet died that recently, then the poetry is still covered by copyright. A translation is an example of a "derivative work", which means you would need permission from the poet's estate in order to publish.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:54 PM on February 23, 2012

The WATCH database is a good place to start looking for copyright holders. It was originally restricted to Anglophone authors but is now being extended to other European languages, though its coverage may not be comprehensive. It also has some helpful information on US and UK copyright law.
posted by verstegan at 2:45 PM on February 23, 2012

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