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Poetry in Translation Editors’ Note

How do we counter the darkness, but with light—and the poems featured here come at a decisive and timely moment.

Mariangela Gualtieri writes what we need is an embodiment of “real grief to birth,” to act out of an empathetic being with one another, to “hold hunger inside/for another’s hunger.” This transcendent power of connection to the light we all possess and tap into through such compelling poetry (exquisitely translated from the Italian by Cristina Viti) as it transmutes language to a higher energy in order to bring “healing of the risen.”

Justyna Bargielska is one of the most original and whimsical women poets in contemporary Polish poetry. Her poetic landscape is woven of love and loss; absurdity and brokenness, linguistic playfulness and existential transience. She captures gravitas of life in an evanescent and almost teasing way. One of the most prominent literary critics of Polish contemporary poetry, Anna Kałuża, writes: “Her curiosity of different words, an exceptional collector’s passion, seems endless. She does not allow herself to go with the flow, but instead ties her poems with the rigor of repetition, subjects her vocabulary to limited choices, and the entire collage-like world remains under her thumb.”

Told in the plain spare language of a parable with fabular undertones, “The Shark” by Haitian poet Roodly Laurore deftly rendered from the French by Jerrice J. Baptiste captures the threshold experience of awakening to the spiritual “in the hollow of a dark and quiet mountain,” a reminder of where to focus but on the value of that which is quiet and still within—to regain who are at the core.

These are necessary voices, and we welcome them to our pages.


–Barbara Siegel Carlson and Ewa Chrusciel


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