The Queue

Every day, the queue gets longer. More and more people need documents: profound of citizenship, exemptions, permissions, documents with forms to get the other documents for the other forms. So they come to the Gate, and wait. They wait in

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Posted in books, literature, translation

Mascha Kaléko: a new bilingual edition

This new and fully bilingual edition of the Poems of Mascha Kaléko, out in time for the 110th anniversary of her birth, is a good introduction in English to one of my favourite German poets, who deserves to be more

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Posted in books, poetry, translation

Finland 100: Minna Canth

This beautiful book (cover design by Anu Tuominen) is one of 12 classics republished by WSOY to celebrate Finland’s 100th anniversary. Minna Canth, the author of Työmiehen vaimo/The worker’s wife, died 120 years ago this Friday, so she didn’t live to

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Posted in books, Finland 100, theatre, translation

The Proof

Mostly, I’m just really glad I’m not sixteen any more. The crushing insecurity then is exacerbated by 24/7 bullying on social media now – not to mention the knife crime, the violence, who’d want it? Marcia doesn’t seem to like it much

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Finland 100: Edith Södergran

It is spring. The earth is bare, the snow is melting. The nights are cold, but the sun is getting stronger, the days are getting longer, a lot longer. Takatalvi (“back-winter” – the reverse of an Indian summer) might strike at

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Posted in books, Finland 100, poetry, translation

Iza’s Ballad

This one is desperately sad, and it stays with you. The Door should have prepared me for more the direct emotion, the weight of history, the unflinching look at how the characters – people more like you and me than we’d care

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Posted in books, gender, history, translation

Memoirs of a polar bear

A decade ago, on a visit to Berlin, I bought a small Steiff bear to remind me of the city I used to live in, and of Knut. Knut, if you don’t know already, was a baby polar bear in Berlin Zoo.

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Posted in books, gender, translation
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