Angela Rodel translating Ivanka Mogilska

Translator Statement

Ivanka Mogilska’s poetry jumps up from the page—and no wonder, since she is not only a poet, but a performer with a background in theater directing. I had the pleasure of translating a whole cycle of poems performed over ambient, improvisational soundscapes—something to imagine in your mind (or ear’s?) eye when reading her work, as the “sounding” is an integral part of the poem. She also writes from a very female narrative perspective, in both her poetry and prose—a much-needed voice in the Bulgarian literary scene, which continues to be dominated by male writers. 


Sometimes she tells unbelievable stories.  
She eats the day in small bites.
She smiles in the darkness.
She is all sunshine and a few white clouds.
Sometimes she willingly lies down
in the plate of the everyday.
She doesn’t care either way.
There are no words.
There are no stories.
There is no darkness
smiling in.
She’s so indifferent
that you wonder—
is this the calm before the storm,
or its eye?


Понякога разказва
невероятни истории.
Яде деня на малки порции.
Усмихва се в тъмното.
Цялата е слънце
и няколко бели облака.
Друг път ляга доброволно
в чинията на ежедневието.
Все й е едно.
Няма думи.
Няма истории.
Няма тъмно,
в което си струва
да се усмихне.
Толкова безразлична е,
че се чудиш –
затишие пред буря ли е,
или е окото й.


The time
it takes you to forget her
is the time
it takes
someone else to remember her. 


Времето, в което я забравяш
е времето, в което
някой друг си я спомня.

Ivanka Mogilska

Ivanka Mogilska has published four books: two novels, excerpts of which have been translated into English, French, and Hungarian; and two poetry collections, each of which has won a national award. She lives in Sofia, works as a freelance copywriter, and participates as a writer and performer in art actions and performances by Bulgarian digital artists and musicians. Her second novel, Sudden Streets, (Janet 45, 2013) will be fully translated and published in Hungary later this year.

Angela Rodel

Angela Rodel is a professional literary translator living and working in Bulgaria. She received a 2014 NEA translation grant for Georgi Gospodinov’s novel The Physics of Sorrow (Open Letter 2015) – the first time a Bulgarian-language work has received such an award. Six novels in her translation have been published by US and UK publishers. Her translations have appeared in literary magazines and anthologies, including McSweeney’s, Little Star,, Two Lines, The White Review and Words Without Borders