Welcome to The Blue Nib’s Translation and International Poetry Section, Translation Po-Int, a place for both original and translated poetry. Issue 42 showcases a wide range of aesthetic forms and themes, introducing poets and translators from across the globe.
I am writing this editorial from my home in Romania after having read all the work in translations from French, Croatian, Spanish, Hungarian, and Persian and the original poems, feeling less distanced and isolated. I am grateful for all these poets and translators who have made their work visible and consequently contributed to the promising debut of this section. What I appreciate most is the diversity of this Issue 42 and the way all these different styles have found a way to connect aesthetically.
Andrea Jurjević’s translation of Marko Pogačar’s poems has a kind of softness that permeates lines filled with explosive imagery: “it turned out the world is a watermelon/seen from afar through a silk stocking/under its core bloody magma, sugar cooled into envy/tosses seeds in its sweet love”.
Leopoldo María Panero’s poems in the translation of Clayre Benzadón are also infused with vivid images: “there is nothing in the eyes except something dropping flowers, which undo themselves and rot in the grave/and songs that progress under the shade, wobbling/better than a drunk”.
The two French poems from The Abduction by Maram Al-Masri in the translation of Hélène Cardona are a lyrical portrayal of loss and motherhood: “O human brothers/ O world/ I had a child/ I hid him in my belly/ he shared my body/ I fed him my blood we shared my dreams/ I sang for him, he smiled/ I carried him, he stopped crying/ they ripped him from my arms/I stopped singing”. They are beautifully mirrored in their tragic call by Bänoo Zan’s translation of Mohammad Reza’s poem, “My Homeland Soldier”: “My homeland soldier/is now a fighter/who shoots his hungry brother in the heart/when the world is asleep”.
When the political breaches the mundane, “spring is the best camouflage” in Diana Geacăr’s words. Her poems address the invisible female body: “in this noise, nobody would notice the muffled sound a thrown body would make”, the way Rose Mary Boehn reveals the frail, aging process of the same feminine looks: “her skin is no longer tight around her. /She has lost the stable balance of attractive/and repulsive forces between her atoms.”. Are we safe, body and spirit, under the green shelter of spring? Andreea Iulia Scridon ponders: “Should I wonder, /now that this premature body/ is again so out of tune? / (like a broken Mandolin/ in a buried Transylvanian village)”.
Collectively, these poems, in weaving together the intricacies of language and spirit, help us navigate these extreme times and deliver poetry that is, in the words of Rita Dove, “language at its most distilled and most powerful”.
Thank you for making time to read and engage with these poets and their work.