Hristina Ivanova translating Maria Doneva

Translator Note

It is as if Maria Doneva’s writing is tangible—as if one can touch, taste, and hear her words come to life. This, plus the fact that she writes in rhymed syllabic verse, made her work a great challenge to translate. The poem I picked is from her 11th poetry collection, Pure Poems (2014). The reasons behind my choice are rather personal and sentimental, but in any case it is very difficult not to love her work. Maria’s poems radiate the warmth one might need on a cold, lonely night. They are the fluffy blanket to snuggle in after a hard day. They are playful, comforting, and friendly. They are full of humaneness. 

From Pure Poems, 2014

Weariness well-worthy
your eyelashes caressing.
Sleep is in a hurry.
Are you dreaming? Or just sleeping?
The stars standing sentinel,
their cloaks splashed with ink.
The moon – a quince gentle.
A sorrow with retracted sting.
Among the giant shadows
nests are hiding snuggly.
Uncovered are the windows.
The curtains swinging gently,
the air lightly breezing.
And through your daydream
sleep comes cuddling,
so that you can hug it. 

Чисти стихотворения, 2014 г.

Заслужена умора
по клепките те гали.
Сънят ще дойде скоро.
Мечтаеш ли? Заспа ли?
Звездите караулят
с наметки от мастило.
Луна със цвят на дюля.
Тъга с прибрано жило.
Гнезда уютно скрити
сред сенките грамадни.
Прозорците – отвити.
Завесите прохладни
безшумно се полюшват.
И както си мечтаеш,
сънят до теб се гушва,
за да го приласкаеш.

Maria Doneva

Maria Doneva was born in 1974 in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria. She has a degree in Bulgarian Philology from Sofia University. She has won several prestigious literary awards for poetry and short stories. Maria is author of the poetry collections Eyes for Beauty (1988), Farewell to the reader (1996), Празнината меѓу нас (in Macedonian) (2005), Worry (2005, 2007, 2008), Wheedling the Meaning (2009), Soft Sun (2010), A Shop for Pebbles (2011), A Feather of Smoke (2012), The Rabbit and Its Dream (2013), A Handful of Glossy Cherries (2013), Pure Poems (2014), She Enjoys the Rain (2015). She has also published in Literaturen Vestnik, Literaturen forum, Letopisi, Kapital, Liternet, and many more. She works with the Permanent Theatre with the State Psychiatric Hospital “Dr. Georgi Kisyov” and as a playwright for the Drama Theatre in Stara Zagora. In her spare time, Maria also makes rag dolls.

Personal blog:

Hristina Ivanova

Hristina Ivanova was born in 1983 in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria. She has a BA in Indian Studies, for which she studied Hindi, Urdu and Sanskrit. She is currently at work on an MA in translation and editing at Sofia University. Hristina has worked as a professional translator since 2009, mainly in the legal field, but she is trying to find her way into literary translation.