John Ridland
John M. Ridland was born in London in 1933 of Scottish ancestry, but has lived most of his life in California. He taught writing and literature for over forty years in the English Department and the College of Creative Studies at the University of California in Santa Barbara, where he still lives.

His published books include: Fires of Home, Ode on Violence, In the Shadowless Light, Elegy for My Aunt, Palms, Life with Unkie, (Un)Extinguished Lamp/Lampara Anapagada, and A Brahms Card Ballad: Poems Selected for Hungarians, which was issued in Hungarian translation by the Europa Press three years before it was published by Dowitcher Press in California in 2007. With his New Zealand-born wife Muriel, he wrote And Say What He Is: The Life of a Special Child, published in 1975 by the MIT Press. His latest book, Happy in an Ordinary Thing, is being released by the Truman State University Press in February 2013. The Hudson Review published the first two parts of his translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

Ridland’s poems have appeared internationally in many journals, including Poetry, The Atlantic, Harper’s, The Hudson Review, The Sewanee Review, The Dark Horse (Scotland), Spectrum, The Nation, New Zealand Books, Quadrant (Australia), River Styx, Solo, Askew, Parnassus, PN Review (England), and The Hungarian Quarterly.

Visiting Hungary in 1987, he learned of János Vitéz , a “folk epic” poem by Sándor Petöfi, which he later translated as John the Valiant, published first by the Corvina Press in Budapest (1999), again by the Devi Foundation in Pécs (2001), and in 2004, in an edition still in print, by the Hesperus Press, London. With Peter Czipott he continues to translate work by Hungarian poets: Sándor Márai’s The Withering World: Selected Poems is forthcoming from Alma Books in London, and Miklós Radnóti’s A Gnarled Stick: Selected Poems is in progress at the New American Press. Ridland has received a gold medal from the Arpad Society of Cleveland, Ohio, and the 2010 Balassi Sword Award for his Hungarian translations. He has read from John the Valiant in the Los Angeles area, at the Hungarian Embassy in Washington, the Hungarian Cultural Centre in London, at U.S. Embassy-sponsored functions in Budapest and Slovenia, and at the Hungarian Community Centre in Melbourne, Australia, where he was interviewed on both the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Australian SBS (Special Broadcasting Service). He has also been interviewed on the Voice of America and in Santa Barbara on the “Cultural Community” TV program hosted by David Starkey.
John Ridland with the Balassi Sword