Blog Archives

New snow, old words

New year, fresh snow. Fresh snow, old words. I first came across Gwerful Mechain this time last year through her most famous poem of all, translated as ‘Ode to My Cunt’ by Zoë Brigley Thompson for Modern Poetry in Translation.

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Posted in books, history, literature, poetry, translation

Sergius Seeks Bacchus

A fellow queer Christian, from an utterly different context. Indonesian literature has been in the literary news since the country guest of honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2015. But now it gets personal: Sergius Seeks Bacchus. This slim

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Posted in books, faith, gender, poetry, translation

Negative Space

A voice from Albania, somewhere I’ve never been, seems to know exactly what I’m thinking. This is all the more interesting as for a long time, the poet, Luljeta Lleshanaku, couldn’t go anywhere at all. Born in 1968, she grew

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Posted in books, poetry, translation

Come into the story

I’m on the way home from Gdańsk, from the choral festival which my choir achieved silver in the equal-voice category yesterday – we are thrilled. For the competition we had to sing two songs in our own language and two

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Posted in international, music, poetry, translation

Hell, freshly translated

Lent starts next week, so what better time to get your hands on a book about sinners, in their infinite variety, and where they end up? The gates of Hell open onto what some might consider the worst of the

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Posted in books, Illustration, literature, poetry, translation

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

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Posted in books, international, poetry, translation

Oh, to be in Finland, now December’s there

It’s too warm. It should be colder – a lot colder. It’s unseasonable. It’s beautiful, delightful, but it all feels wrong. It’s just all a bit too much, not cosy enough, not delicate enough, perhaps? Things should be the same,

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Posted in Christmas, music, poetry, translation

Cold Mountain

Cold Mountain is a both a person and a place. A Buddhist monk, he brings the way to life through stories. He finds stillness inside him where he is. And he shows you, the reader, that you can do the

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Posted in books, poetry, translation

Beginning to Speak

Diana is from Pontus, now in Georgia, once in Greece. So it’s no surprise she starts with Helen – she isn’t the first poet to do so and she surely won’t be the last: These poems are gloriously sensory and

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Posted in books, poetry, translation, Women in Translation Month

Thomas Bernhard’s poems

Once he’d written them, he didn’t look back. He moved on to plays and novels, for which he’s much better known. He didn’t write any more poems for decades. Once he’d written them, he kept looking back. He returned and

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Posted in books, poetry, translation
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