- Marieke Lucas Rijneveld stepped down from the role on Friday.
- The poet would have translated Gorman’s inauguration poem ‘The Hill We Climb‘ and first poetry collection to Dutch.
- Rijneveld pulled out of the project after mounting criticism that the commission should have gone to a Black person.
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A Dutch poet will not translate Amanda Gorman’s work after criticism that it would be inappropriate for a white person to do so.
However, Rijneveld, the youngest author ever to win the International Booker Prize for the novel, ‘The Discomfort of Evening,’ decided to step down from the role on Friday.
Rijneveld said in a Twitter statement: “I’m shocked by the uproar around my involvement in the dissemination of Amanda Gorman’s message, and I understand people who feel hurt by the choice.”
Among those that criticized the decision was Dutch cultural activist and journalist Janice Deul.
In an opinion piece for the newspaper de Volkskrant, she said: “Not to take anything away from Rijneveld’s qualities, but why not chose a writer who is – just like Gorman – spoken word artist, young, female and unapologetically Black.”
Gorman, the first National Youth Poet Laureate, recited her poem ‘Chorus of the Captains’ dedicated to a teacher, an ICU nurse, and a US Marine Corps veteran at the Super Bowl earlier this month.
The Dutch translation of the poem was to be published on March 20 by the Amsterdam-based publisher, Meulenhoff, AP reported.
Rijneveld was also going to translate Gorman’s first poetry collection for release on 21 August, the Independent added.
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