International Poets and Poetry in Translation with Clara Burghelea

Editorial

Poetry UK and Ireland

Reading as an activity is private, though can take place almost anywhere: in an inviting library, in one’s cozy nook or outdoors. Reading for Issue 43 began and ended in a changed world where socializing has been reinvented and spending time outside our homes has to unfold under certain circumstances. The summer of 2020 will remain in our collective memory as that of no hugs, no shows, no visits, no reading performances, no travelling. How does poetry reading fit this unexpected, heart-breaking global picture?

Reading as an activity is private, though can take place almost anywhere: in an inviting library, in one’s cozy nook or outdoors. Reading for Issue 43 began and ended in a changed world where socializing has been reinvented and spending time outside our homes has to unfold under certain circumstances. The summer of 2020 will remain in our collective memory as that of no hugs, no shows, no visits, no reading performances, no travelling. How does poetry reading fit this unexpected, heart-breaking global picture?

The answer lies within the large number of submissions we received and what an incredible opportunity again to learn about the joys and parameters of putting together yet another exquisite issue. This Issue 43 in particular has meant a strong collaboration with the other editors and such exchange of opinions and love has found its place in the quality of the included work.

So, kind reader, ready yourself for excursions in various forms – prose poem, haiku, free verse, historical poetry – and visceral content, mood and mode and playful voice. Discover our featured poet, Cătălina Florina Florescu, who praises the mother figure in her poem “Hatching the Death Egg” where birth is portrayed in reverse, from dying bed to ovum: “The woman is hatching/ a hallow egg:/barely moving/she looks for/a bed/to die”. Her poems on motherhood and the dynamics of married life are echoed in the poetry of Viviana Fiorentino.

In her poem, “Road lines”, the relationship between mother and daughter is compared to a road trip that both gives space for careless window gazing and hurtful conversation: “And while you point/where air scatters /more light, for the sky kindness or the sun obstinacy,/edges/ align between us. Love for you. The weight of your/ heart /before I feel it. /Impossible crossroads where you and I are mother.”

Viviana Fiorentino’s poem “Belonging” beautifully resonates with Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews’s prose poem “City of Dreams” where a city seduces its newly-arrived individuals with its glowing light and the promise of “wading into the greater sea of the collective, claiming us citizen unto itself.” In this sea of bodies, the body is equally visible and invisible. In her other poem, “La Chasse Galerie”, inspired by the legend of Flying Canoe from Québec, Canada, the suffering body is healed for “nature sanctifies me, / Even as the icy scissor of winter/Cuts at my face, my toes, my bones. / Pain numbs. In the velour darkness /Of its’ gnathic clench, I yield to the holy.”

Moreover, the (image of the body under siege finds its way in Margot Saffer’s poem “Prayer for the Fallen (of Marikana)” written back in 2012 in honor of the miners killed during a strike at a mine in the Marikana region of South Africa. In the poet’s words “this is still an unresolved, painful issue for those who lost loved ones, as well as for the entire mining industry and its current and historical state ties.16 August will be the anniversary.” 

Reading and poetry continue to be an important part of our lives, those of us who believe words can unshackle, purge, sing, connect, remain the ink blood of our daily interactions, and a measure of our humane ability for endless hope.

Thank you for taking time to enjoy the words of these fearless, well-established and emerging female poets alike.

About the contributor

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