CALL FOR 119 TRANSLATIONS OF “THE RED WHEELBARROW” BY WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS
In Meldrum Park in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a mural by Dave Loewenstein celebrates the astonishing diversity of a small city where more than 140 languages are currently spoken.
When viewing this artwork, conceived of first by children in the Whittier neighborhood, an interesting notion occurred to writer Ben Miller—a joyful way of extending the collaborative spirit the images embody, as well as connecting people across the nation to the Midwest of the current moment.
What if citizens stepped in front of the mural one morning, each proudly reciting, in turn, the same seminal American poem translated into a different language—showcasing the variety amid unity that is the genius of Democracy at its best?
(The 2013 creation of the Meldrum Park mural was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Sioux Falls Arts Council and City of Sioux Falls.)
The collective undertaking of this massive reading is all about stretches—sounds of languages flowing one into the other—and people from many different countries and backgrounds joining to create an audio/visual mosaic that compliments and communicates with the Meldrum Park mural.
The poem picked for the project is “The Red Wheelbarrow”, by William Carlos Williams:
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
Currently 23 translations have been found or generated.
Here is a list of the languages to be done:
“Red Wheelbarrow” Translations Needed (119):
European: Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Estonian, Greek, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Serbian, Shqip or Albanian, Slavic or Ukrainian, Slovak.
African: Acholi, Afar, Afrikaans, Akan, Amharic, Anyuak, Arabic, Avokaya, Baki, Bari, Bassa, Bhojpuri, Burundi, Creole, Didinga, Dinka, Erapice, French, Fulani, Grego, Hausa, Hindi, Igbo or Ibo, Jur, Kabila, Kenyarwanda, Kikiyu, Kirundi or Rundi, Kisio, Kiswahili, Krahn, Krash, Kuku, Kunama, Lakoka, Lango, Lingala, Luganda, Madi, Mai Mai or Bantu, Mandinka, Mawo, Mondari, Moru, Murule, Ndogo, Nubiar, Nuer, Nyambara, Nyangwana, Oduk, Ogoni, Oromo, Pojulu, Rafica, Ruel, Rwanda, Shilluk, Sholuk, Somali, Swahili, Tigrinya, Toknath, Toposa, Turkish, Urdu, Wolof or Senegal, Zande, Zulu.
Asian: Armenian, Azeri or Azerbaijan, Bangla, Bhutanese, Cambodian, Cantonese, Chinese, Filipino, French, Gujarati, Hayaren of Armenia, Hindi, Indonesian, Kazakh, Khmer, Korean, Kurdish, Lao, Lergdie, Malay, Nepali, Oriya, Pashtu, Tagala, Telugu, Urdu,.
Central and South American: Castellano of Chile, Kiche, Mam, Quichua of Ecuador.
North American: Ojibwe or Chippawa, Dakota, Lakota, Nakota, Navajo, Omaha, Ponca, Winnebago.
Translations donated are for the purposes of a one-time community event, and will not be published in print or on the Internet. The author retains all rights: use is strictly informal.
When you have finished the translation e-mail it, and a three-sentence biography (including your current place of residence), to Ben Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The biographical information will appear in the event program. If you would like to participate in the actual event in some fashion, please note so at this time. And we would love to know if you have ever visited South Dakota or have family or personal or business connections there.
As of now the project timeframe is this:
October 2014-August 2015: Translation Collecting/Generation
September 2015-April 2016: Signing Up Readers/Publicity
May 2016: Event Staging
To learn more about the Meldrum Park mural and Mural Speaks!—its genesis, history and organizers—follow these links: