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Poetry in Translation Editor’s Note

“With a key that keeps changing/you unlock the house,” writes Paul Celan.  So we continue to unlock the world with keys of ever-changing languages, crossing thresholds to new vision. In this issue we’re delighted to feature the work of two Slovenian poets: Miriam Drev and Barbara Korun.

Drev, who is herself translator, probes life’s complexities to reveal hidden realities in nuanced tones. Her imagery, spare but luminous, offers fresh perspectives into “one’s own history, fleeting ties, unrealized life,” bringing us closer to the heart of existence.

Barbara Jurša’s translations skillfully render Korun’s vivid sensuality to strike what is both authentic and essential, as it gives way to further mystery. “The Smell of Humans” provides a first-hand glimpse into a tragic political reality, while reminding us of our humanity and all it entails in the unforgettable “deep sharp smell of humans.”  For Korun, memories and objects may be shards that draw blood when handled, even as they form “new/wholes.”

Both poetries resonate as if each word were an eye and ear pressed to the world.

Barbara Siegel Carlson

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