Women in Translation Month: Trafika Europe and Aurélia Lassaque

AureliaLassaqueThe Edinburgh festivals are full of wonderful translation events, but this one may have sold out faster than most.

Trafika Europe is celebrating their first anniversary with two poets: a Saami man and an Occitan woman. Trafika is a gorgeous online quarterly of little-known new European literature in English translation, with fine art work and a satisfying crisp page-turn.

And the Occitan woman from the first online issue is poet Aurélia Lassaque from Southwestern France. You can read one of her poems in James Thomas’ translation here. They are musical, dreamy, bound to the landscape and its spirituality, and intense.

Occitan is close to Catalan, and suffering from France’s minority language policy, or lack thereof. You can watch Aurélia Lassaque talking about her language and her work and reading from her book Solstice and other Poems in Occitan, with her translator James Thomas reading in English.

Let Lassaque have the last word, in both languages. Here’s her Guardian poem of the week:

Time has disappearedSolsticeAndOtherPoems
Into the air-tracks
Where a young girl’s face,
Bird without body,
Takes flight.
From her eyes a black pearl
Escapes to Icaria sky.
She’s daughter to oblivion
That bequeathed her
A morsel of moonless night,
Left on her lips.
She’ll never touch earth
She’ll never tease the stone
Nor the trees
Nor the waters that confound them.
She married an illusion
That vanished in the wind.

Lo temps s’es perdut
Dins los camins de l’èr
Ont, ausèl sens còs,
Una cara de dròlla
Pren sa volada.
Una perla negra dins sos uèlhs
S’escapa cap al cèl d’Icara.
Es filha del neient
Que li daissèt en eritatge
Un tròç de nuèch sens luna
Sus las labras.
Jamai tocarà tèrra
Jamai tutejarà la pèira
Nimai los arbres
E l’aiga que los enjaura.
Qu’a esposada una quimèra
Que se perdèt dins lo vent.

Translator, editor, writer, reader

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Posted in Edinburgh Festival, poetry, translation

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