Poem Podcast from the Poetry Translation Centre

This week's poem is by Kajal Ahmad from Kurdistan. The poem is read first in English translation by Mimi Khalvati and then in Kurdish by Kajal Ahmad. If you enjoy this poem and would like to find out more about Kajal Ahmad and all the other poets we've translated, please visit our website www.poetrytranslation.org.

Direct download: PTC_Kajal_Rain_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:28pm UTC

A chilly poem in harmony with the weather: ‘Snow’ by the wonderful Iranian poet, Azita Ghahreman, who now lives in exile in snowy Sweden.

‘Snow’ opens with the arresting lines:

            This sheet that stretches from here to the world's end  

            is covered by all that fallen snow.

            Why must we be lost too?

The seemingly endless snow is a metaphor for the hopelessness the poet feels – she and her lover are lost in its vastness. Only ‘a single stray earring’ can be seen – ‘not a tree, not a rabbit, not a star’.

In the next stanza, Azita describes ‘that long night’ of their relationship. In this very fine translation by Maura Dooley and Elhum Shakerifar, note the verbs that Maura has chosen to signal the violent feelings the relationship’s breakdown inspires, one in each line: ‘chucked out’, ‘shook out’ and ‘threw’. That image of throwing ‘the sheets into the laundry basket’ brings us back to the beginning of the poem: the ‘sheet… covered by all that final snow’ is now a literal as well as a metaphorical sheet. And note the force of that final, understated yet heartbreaking line: ‘I died a little’.

The final stanza of this perfectly poised poem stands back to consider the relationship itself, which once was ‘a fresh, wild garden’ that now is ‘covered / by sheets of falling snow’. The final line of the poem contains a small, sad pun: the snow is ‘shrouding everything still....’. This has the dual meaning of ‘shrouding everything [that is] still’ i.e. shrouding everything that cannot move and is silent; and ‘shrouding everything still’, i.e. continuing to shroud everything, perhaps for a very long time.

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Direct download: PP_Azita_Snow_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:56am UTC

Thanks to Kurdish poet and translator, Choman Hardi, we translated this wonderful poem by Dilawar Karadaghi over the course of three workshops at the beginning of 2005 when, appropriately enough, it was bitterly cold – though too cold for snow. And, as London faces its first ‘arctic blast’ of this remarkably mild winter, it seems fitting to choose ‘An Afternoon at Snowfall’ for our poem-podcast this week. The poem is read beautifully for us by two poets: in Kurdish by Mohammad Mustafa and in English by W N Herbert.

This is one of my favourite poems that we’ve translated in our workshops, I think because of the way in which Dilawar expresses something so essential about what it means to be exiled through the repeated evocation of everyday, almost banal, details.

www.poetrytranslation.org

Direct download: snowfall_mp3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:01am UTC

 

This week's poem is by Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi from Sudan. The poem is read first in English translation by Sarah Maguire and then in Arabic by Saddiq himself. If you enjoy this poem and would like to find out more about Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi and all the other poets we've translated, please visit our website www.poetrytranslation.org

Direct download: PP_Saddiq_Are_You_the_One.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am UTC

'Are You the One?' by Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi

This week's poem is by Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi from Sudan. The poem is read first in English translation by Sarah Maguire and then in Arabic by Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi. If you enjoy this poem and would like to find out more about Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi and all the other poets we've translated, please visit our website www.poetrytranslation.org

Direct download: PTC_Saddiq_Are_You_the_One_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:58am UTC