Blog Archives

Waiting for translation: Margarita

A real old-school holiday resort. Sauna, muscle-reviving massage for the old biddies with health problems, berry and mushroom picking, rowboats to the island in the middle of the lake, home-cooked food with produce from the estate. A local community where

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Posted in books, translation

Monsters and heroes: Beowulf

Dragons, magic, heaps of gold and jewels, superhuman strength, slaying monsters – both monsters who are slain and monsters who slay. In the ancient and modern senses of the word. It’s fun. It’s fantasy. It’s the perfect read for a

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Posted in books, poetry, translation

A window left open

If some of these poems feel like song lyrics, that’s because they are. Pentti Saarikoski’s best-loved work was set to music for the sixties folk group, Muksut. You can watch their original videos in the national treasure trove that is

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Posted in books, Dublin Literary Award, poetry

The lost soul – zgubiona dusza

The man was moving so fast he had completely forgotten why he was moving at all. So he went to see a wise woman. And the wise woman said, “Slow down. You have to wait for your soul to catch

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Posted in books, Illustration, Nobel Prize in Literature, translation

And we came outside and saw the stars again

Reading about a pandemic while living through it is not everyone’s idea of staying safe and well (as we’ve wished for each other so often this year). There was a patch in the summer, however, where things were looking up

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Posted in books

Fifty islands I have not visited and never will

This is the subtitle to Judith Schalansky’s Atlas of Remote Islands. I discovered it eleven years late, because this year Marko Niemi translated it into Finnish. I ordered the German original straight away and despite the pandemic it arrived promptly

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Posted in books, history, Illustration, translation

Malambo

For Black History Month, here’s a story from a time and place that’s often been forgotten. Malambo is set in sixteenth-century Peru among artists, friars, healers, swindlers, silversmiths, traders and fisherfolk who just happen to be Black – alongside indigenous

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Posted in Uncategorized

When death takes something from you give it back

I read When Death Takes Something from You Give It Back on the train to the city where Naja Marie Aidt was raised, Copenhagen. She wrote it a long journey away from there, back in Brooklyn, where she now lives.

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Posted in books, translation

Poems from the edge of extinction

The last line of the refrain in the Welsh national anthem is O bydded i’r hen iaith barhau (“O may the old language endure” in W.S. Gwynn Williams’ translation). I remember learning it when I was about seven or eight;

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Posted in Uncategorized

Little eyes

I have post-its over the camera on my laptop and my tablet – but not on my phone. Which seems silly as that’s the one that goes everywhere. Now I’m in more and more video meetings, the post-its fall off

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Posted in books, translation
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