Is a pomegranate a grenade-apple, a cluster of garnets, or a something else? Moshen Emadi has some ideas:
Emadi’s Standing on Earth, translated from the Persian by Lyn Coffin, is a Phoneme Media production. I love this publisher for its windows on worlds I could never enter, but the feelings in these poems resonate in all sorts of places. Emadi is an Iranian in exile who settled in Mexico, and he captures the leaver’s longing for what was and what might have been. His translator is also a poet and Emadi himself is also a translator: he has been editing the Persian Anthology of World Poetry for ten years, which is now on Facebook as The House of World Poets, bringing world poetry to a Persian audience. One of the longest poems in his short collection explores what happens to language in exile:
These poems keep memories and words alive – many are dedicated to loved ones and activists who were killed, or who the poet will never see again.
Emadi’s exile continues – under the new US travel ban, he can no longer enter the country, see his family there or speak Persian with other people. At his last visit to the States this spring, he explained what he thought makes translation work: “You have to be humble before the poem… Poetry is another language.”