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Poetry in Translation Editor’s Note

“The nourishment of the abiding center is inexhaustible” says the IChing. And if you substitute the word “poetry” for “nourishment” you might find sustenance for these uncertain times. If every poem is a translation of one’s perception of that abiding center, then every good translation offers another savoring of the center that is the poem’s hidden succulence.

We are delighted to introduce the Spanish poet Irene Bable Marruffi whose “Skies” in Stephen Kessler’s elegant translation reveals a multi-faceted vision of eternity as it blends the surreal, political, passionate and sacred turning from a sky “bloody with senseless falling missiles” to the “blue of a huge/ twilight under an unknown firmament.”

Piotr Maur values authenticity in his poetics, conveying inner truth of speaking subject in confrontation with an outside world. His poetics is characterized by paradox, caricature, conceptualism. In the poem [actually, I don’t know how to convince you], deftly translated by Katarzyna Jakubiak, we see how the topic of love transpires from the empty fridge image. Maur follows in the steps of the Metaphysical Poets by introducing a witty concept of light (feeding on light specifically), as he yokes incongruous images together producing surprise and delight.

This is Macedonian poet Lidija Dimkovska’s second appearance in Solstice, and she returns with a tour-de-force of a poem “Legacy,” told in the voice of South African poet Ingrid Jonker who died by her own hand in 1965. The force of “Legacy,” translated with verve by Ljubica Arsovska and Patricia Marsh, resides in the voice of the suicide whose tones sharply and seamlessly shift as they navigate the heart’s difficult terrain where “death is an awakening” as much as an ironic and paradoxical vision arising from pain, love, politics, injustice and memory.


-Barbara Siegel Carlson and Ewa Chrusciel

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