A Journey through a Kaleidoscope. Translating the Transcultural Poetry of Shoah Survivor Manfred Winkler

Courtney McDonald

Lessons learnt from history, namely the destruction of the multicultural Eastern-European world through Soviet occupation (1940–41) and Nazi persecution (1941-45), motivated Shoah survivor Manfred Winkler (1922, Putila, Bucovina – 2014, Jerusalem, Israel) to fully embrace the historic role of the Jew as a mediator between cultures. Winkler transfigured his personal loss and trauma into powerfully gentle poetry that exhibits a kaleidoscopic lens, in which languages, cultures and memories intersect and interweave in such a way that it produces a transcultural outlook. Although well known in Germany and Israel, Winkler’s work is relatively unknown in the Anglosphere. Through translating a representative selection of Winkler’s poems and reflecting on aspects of representation, memory, linguistic hybridity and transculturality, my PhD project aims to critically engage with current scholarship at the convergence of transcultural literary and memory studies, and to contribute to the wider reception of Winkler’s poetic work in English translation. In my presentation, I will share some of my work in progress, including sample translations and a brief commentary.