New Year: The Sea Migrations


New year. Will old rage fuel new hope?


Why publish this poem again now? Thirst was translated by Clare Pollard in 2017, but Asha Lul Mohamud Yusuf wrote it earlier. After more than two decades in the UK, she has plenty to say about the political climate there, and in the country of her birth, Somalia. In a hostile environment, when the sea between the islands of Britain and  mainland Europe is getting wider, it’s time to listen to her again.

As Yusuf herself says, she would rather that her home be known not for its wars, but for its rich poetic heritage. Somali gabays, drawing on centuries of oral tradition, political commentary, complex form and devices such as alliteration. This noble tradition has rightly been compared to Old English poetry; Pollard was encouraged to use the same alliteration in her translation because of Simon Armitage’s translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

Here it is in the title poem of Yusuf and Pollard’s book:


Want to know how this ends? You can hear Yusuf and Pollard reading the whole thing, and more, here. Yusuf paints a picture of how different things can be, in her poem The Rain that Stops the Caravan:


The Sea Migrations: Tahriib is published by Bloodaxe Books, in collaboration with the Poetry Translation Centre. Read it: it will fuel your hope for the new year.

Translator, editor, writer, reader

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in books, international, poetry, translation
One comment on “New Year: The Sea Migrations
  1. […] there, in the shop, was this. I’d heard a lot about it, in fact the poems I wrote about two weeks ago drew on it, with equally fabulous rhythm and alliteration. I’d […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

advent Alice in Wonderland American And Other Stories Antonia Lloyd-Jones Arabic Argentina Beowulf Berlin Best Translated Book Award Bible books Brazil Brazilian Portuguese British British Library Buddhism Catalan Children's Books China Chinese Christmas Christmas Carols Contemporary Czesław Miłosz Danish Dari David Hackston Dublin Literary Award English Estonian Fantasy Farsi Fiction Finland Finland 100 Finlandia Prize Finnish Flemish Free Word Centre French George Szirtes German Greek Hebrew Herbert Lomas Herta Müller history Hungarian Iceland Idioms Illustration India international International Translation Day Irish Gaelic Italian J. R. R. Tolkien Japanese Jenny Erpenbeck Johanna Sinisalo Korean Language language learning Languages Latin Literature Lola Rogers Lord of the Rings Mabinogion Man Booker International Prize Maori Maria Turtschaninoff Moomins New Year Nobel Prize Nobel Prize for Literature Norwegian Old English Olga Tokarczuk Owen Witesman Oxford English Dictionary Penguin PEN Translation Prize Persian Philip Boehm Phoneme Media Poetry Poetry Translation Centre Polish Portuguese Pushkin Press Queer Romanian Rosa Liksom Russian Salla Simukka Second World War Short Stories Sofi Oksanen Spanish Stanisław Barańczak Suomi100 Susan Bernofsky Svetlana Alexievich Swedish Switzerland Thomas Teal Tibetan Tove Jansson transation Translation translator Translators Without Borders Valentine's Day Wales Warsaw Welsh Wisława Szymborska Witold Szabłowski Women in Translation Month words Words without Borders writing YA

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow found in translation on
%d bloggers like this: