DUAL Poetry Podcast

Bejan Matur is the most illustrious poet among a bold new women’s poetry emerging from the Middle East. Her poetry engages directly and concretely with the struggles of her people, and yet there is also a mysticism in her writing, a closeness to nature, an embracing of mythology – a dialogue with God.

This poem and many others that appear in her PTC chapbook 'If This is a Lamnet' were translated by TS Elliot Award-winning poet Jen Hadfield and bridge translator Canan Marasligil.

If you enjoy this poem and would like to support the Poetry Translation Centre please visit our JustGiving Page.

Direct download: ceremonial_robes_weekly_poem_podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:43am UTC

This week's poem is 'The Fruit Seller's Philosophy' by Kajal Ahmad from Kurdistan.  The poem is read first in English translation by Mimi Khalvati and then in Kurdish by the poet Choman Hardi.

If you enjoy this poem and would like to support the Poetry Translation Centre please visit our JustGiving Page.

"My first reaction on receiving Choman Hardi's literal translations of Kajal Ahmed's poems was how good they were, and how little I would seemingly have to do! I think it helped enormously that Choman is such a good poet herself and, in these first versions, had already caught much of the rhythm and tone of Kajal's work. The sweetness and simplicity of the voice, the political and personal passion, the directness and immediacy of the address, were qualities that struck me most, and which I decided were the most important to preserve. I also liked Kajal's sense of humour and the fable-like quality of the poems, evoking so clearly her cultural heritage. In my translations, I also wanted to preserve some sense of the Kurdish language, while helping the poems to sit naturally in English. In considering the strengths and weaknesses of my own voice, I thought that the biggest danger for me might be in losing some of the simplicity that Choman had achieved so gracefully and, to this end, decided to stick as closely as possible to these first versions."

Mimi Khalvati on Translating Kajal Ahmad, click here to read more.

Direct download: PP_Kajal_The_Fruit_Sellers_Philosophy_4.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am UTC

this week's poem 'Schism' 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.

This poem is from a book of poems by Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi inspired by the Petrie Museum’s collection of material from Meroë in Sudan.

If you enjoy this poem and would like to support the Poetry Translation Centre please visit our JustGiving Page.


Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi is one of the leading African poets writing in Arabic today. He has gained a wide audience in his native Sudan for his imaginative approach to poetry and for the delicacy and emotional frankness of his lyrics. His poetry has always been concerned with the rich cultural and linguistic diversity of Sudan and its complex history.

Saddiq was born in 1969 and grew up in Omdurman Khartoum where he lived until forced into exile in 2012. From 2006, he was the cultural editor of Al-Sudani newspaper until he was sacked from his position for political reasons (along with 22 other colleagues) in July 2012 during the uprising against the dictatorship of Omar Al-Bashir. Saddiq only escaped imprisonment because, thanks to the miraculous timing of Poetry Parnassus (the world's largest ever gathering of international poets at which Saddiq represented Sudan), he was in the UK when a series of mass arrests took place. He successfully applied for asylum and is now living in London.

Find out more about Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi 



Direct download: PP_Schism_3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am UTC

This week's poem is 'The Word' by Reza Mohammadi from Afghanistan. The poem is read first in English translation by Nick Laird and then in Dari by Reza Mohammadi.

If you enjoy this poem and would like to support the Poetry Translation Centre please visit our JustGiving Page.

"I was never convinced I was fully ‘getting' the poetry - but it became slightly easier to live with that mystification when I asked Reza to read a poem or two, in Dari, there in the office.

It was, initially, mildly awkward, but that soon faded as Reza got going. He's a great reader of his work, and it turned out it was deeply beneficial to the whole process to hear how he read. Once he began speaking, I realized I could learn a great deal just from the tone in which he read. It was almost irrelevant that I couldn't understand a word he was saying. I got the tone, the style, the import. He read in this unembarrassed, enthralled, rather grand voice, and if that was how the poet read them, that was also how they were written. Reza reads like he's a channel for something greater than himself, and I realized that rather than trying to tame or domesticate his poems into western ideas of order or neatness, I should just try to present them in a language that did its best to allow their strength and power to come through. I aimed to keep the strangeness in them that I experienced on encountering them, and decided to worry less about technique and more about voice."

From Nick Laird on Translating Reza Mohammadi



Direct download: PP_Reza_The_Word_3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am UTC

This week’s poem is 'This Prisoner Breathes' by Noshi Gillani from Pakistan. The poem is read first in English translation by Lavinia Greenlaw and then in Urdu by UK authorKamila Shamsie.

Noshi Gillani was born in Pakistan in 1964. Her fifth collection of poems: Ay Meeray Shureek-E-Risal-E-Jaan, Hum Tera Intezaar Kurtay Rahey (O My Beloved, I Kept Waiting for You) was published in Pakistan in 2008.

The candour and frankness of her highly-charged poems is unusual for a woman writing in Urdu and she has gained a committed international audience, performing regularly at large poetry gatherings in Pakistan, Australia, Canada and the US. Unknown outside the Pakistani community, the translations here mark her introduction to an English-speaking audience.

If you enjoyed this podcast you can support the PTC by going to our JustGiving Page and making a donation.

Direct download: PTC_Noshi_This_Prisoner_Breathes_3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am UTC