The Poetry Translation Centre is dedicated to translating contemporary poetry from Africa, Asia and Latin America. Each week we bring you a new poem podcast from one of the world's greatest living poets, in both the original language and in English translation. To find out more about our work, please visit www.poetrytranslation.org. The Poetry Translation Centre is funded by Arts Council England.
Desire Poems by Women Poets
Right now in April 2022 the PTC has just released our latest World Poets Series Book ‘To Love a Woman’ by Argentinian poet Diana Bellessi, translated by Leo Boix. So this week we are taking a little thematic inspiration and playing you four poems about desire written by female poets. You will hear 'Make Me Drunk with Your Kisses' by Maria Clara Sharupi Jua from Equador, translated from Shuar by Nataly Kelly and The Poetry Translation Workshop, 'Cat Lying in Wait' written in Dari by Shakila Azizzada from Afghanistan and translated by Zuzanna Olszewska with the poet Mimi Khalvati, 'The Lost Button' by Fatena Al-Gharra from Palastine, translated from the Arabic by Anna Murison and Sarah Maguire and 'Taste' by Ash Lul Mounamd Yusif translated by Said Jama Hussein with Claire Pollard. Remember to do as the Somali women would at the live readings and chant along to the repeating lines.
Say it- "If he's not to your taste, he's just a blocked path!"
Three Poems By Diana Anphimiadi
Today’s podcast is dedicated to the poetry of Georgian Poet Diana Anphimiadi. Thanks to our working relationship with the translator Natalia Bukia-Peters the PTC has been translating Georgian poetry since 2013 when two of Diana’s poems 'May Honey’ and ‘Tranquillity’ were translated at one of our collaborative workshops, then in 2018 Diana was part of our Georgian Poets tour alongside Salome Benidze.
Now the PTC with Bloodaxe Books has published Diana’s first full-length English Language collection entitled Why I no Longer Write Poems, with translations by Natalia Bukia-Peters and the UK poet Jean Sprackland. The book has received Creative Europe funding and a PEN translates award. Plus, Diana’s work was described as 'gorgeous, fabulising verse’ by Fiona Sampson in The Guardian
In her introduction, translator Natalia says: Diana Anphimiadi’s paternal roots lie in Pontus, a historically Greek region on the southern coast of the Black Sea that once stretched form central Anatolia to the borders oft he Colchis in modern-day Turkey. Her mother is Georgian,from the area known as Megrelia-Colchis, where the famous legends of the Golden Fleece, the Argonauts, Jason and Medea also originate. In this small area of the Caucasus, Georgian literature – and Georgian poetry, in particular, has always been of central importance and its legacy, the urgency of expression and narrative allusions, can be felt in Anphimaidi’s work
You will hear prayer before taking nourishment, one of several prayer-poems Diana has penned, Dance 3 / 4 time, not just a dance Diana tell us but an Erotic poem and Medusa on of serval poems where Anphidiadi gives voice to the women of Greek mythology.
Poems for Births, Deaths and Marriages
Welcome to the Dual Poetry Podcast’s department of births deaths and marriages.
Reflecting our remit, the department of births deaths and marriages will be playing you three poems reflecting these three themes:
The Caesarean of Three Continents by Corsino Fortes from Cape Verde
Death of a princess by Gaarriye from Somalia &
the married woman by Adelaide Ivánova from Brazil
The start of the new year suggested a podcast about fresh beginnings, renewal and rebirth. But this, of course, is impossible as all poems are about death, or if not death, perhaps poems are simply about poetry, about form.
The idea that all poems are about death comes from Tom Boll, a Spanish Translator and lecturer who was once my boss at the PTC. He found that picking a poem to read at a wedding was near impossible because even love poems contain within them the seed of love’s withering.
It’s easy to think there is meaning on one side and form on the other but its never so neat and a poem tends to meld these two stands lightly together like the curing phosphate backbones of a DNA double helix. As the translation process itself often demonstrates, you ask a question about form and you will get an answer about meaning.
Poems from the 30th Parallel North
The 30th parallel north links several countries represented in the PTC archive, Mexico, Morocco, Israel, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan Pakistan, India and China even glancing off the far south of the Japanese archipelago, sweeping between Tanega-shima and Sumanose-Jima, while totally avoiding Europe. Just like the PTC.
So to close up 2021 this podcast is a poetry collection of the 30th parallel north, featuring poems from the PTC audio archive, including:
Entropy in Wiesbaden by David Huerta From Mexico,
In Vain I Migrate by Abdellatif Laâbi from Morocco,
The Boat That Brought Me by Azita Ghahreman from Iran
Kabul by Shakila Azizzada &
Stay by Yu Yoyo
These poems are literally from around the world, points on a line that encircles the globe but the texts themselves shrug off such simple plotting, we will hear a Mexican reflecting on a German City, an Iranian arriving in Sweden, a Moroccan in lifelong exile, a Chinese poet dreaming of betrayal in Vietnam, and Kabul remembered from afar by a poet living in the Netherlands. This all reminds us that people, and poems for that matter, are not static pin drops on a map. People move about, meanings migrate, homes are lost and found.
So to round out the year, a year with less travel and exploration than maybe we would have all liked, 5 poems from the 30th parallel north.
Nature Poetry and The Climate Emergency
This week the Dual Poetry Podcast is focusing on nature poems. In the shadow of the climate emergency poems about the natural world take on a new significance, so during the second week of the 2021 COP 26 conference in Glasgow we consider now contemporary poets are taking on and reshaping the traditional subject of nature.
Setting aside red roses, summer flowers, floral metaphors about love or odes to the glories of the countryside, rather we are looking to nature as a site of political encounter.
So on this weeks podcast our poems in Turkish, Somali and Chinese are offered in that spirit, as a call to encounter nature as a radical alternative where the vibrancy and resiliency of nature with its cycles of regrowth and complex balancing of interwoven diverse systems offer an alternative to a destructive capitalistic model of endless growth driving towards an unsupportable monoculture.
You will hear I know the unspoken by Bejan Matur translated from the Turkish by Canan Marasligil with Jen Hadfield, Our land by Asha Lul Mohamud Yusuf, translated by Said Jama Hussein
Maxamed Xasan ‘Alto’ with Clare Pollard and Empty Town by Yu Yoyo, translated by Dave Haysom with AK Blakemore.
You can read Leo Boix blog Diana Bellessi: Ecological Subjectivity and the Poetics of Biodiversity on the PTC website. In fact you can read it in English or Spanish.
Five Poems From Afghanistan
Dual Poetry Podcast is taking a look at Afghan poetry, with five poems from the PTC archive. We made this recording in September 2021, weeks after the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan following the withdrawal of Western forces. There is worldwide concern for poets, scholars and intellectuals still in the country, many of whom have publicly supported universal human rights and been openly critical of the Taliban
The world recognises the importance of classical poets who hailed from this part of the world, towering figures like Rumi, and now there are important contemporary poets there that needs further recognition, support and shelter. Towards the end of the podcast, we will be talking about what you can do to help.
All of these poems are in Dari, the regional variation of Persian that has developed in that part of the world. However, there are two official languages in Afghanistan, the second being Pashtu, spoken by ethnic Pashtuns in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Sadly, we do not have any audio recordings of Pashtu poems to play to you but you can find translated Pashtu poetry of the PTC website.
As ever we would like to thank Arts Council England and our donors for their continued support. Thank you for listening, please tell your brilliant poetry loving friends and inspirational relatives about the Dual Poetry Podcast and repost, rate and review.
Desolation, Partaw Naderi
Short and very uplifting, typical of the PTC translations here. There is a burst of emotion when the words are heard in English and then the pleasure - and mystery - of hearing different speech rhythms as they are read in the original. This is illuminating work - a treat every week.