Posts tagged with ‘poetry’

The Epic of Askia Mohammed by Nouhou Malio, trans. Thomas A. Hale

This is an interesting one: a piece of oral poetry, transcribed from a performance by a griot*, Nouhou Malio, in Niger. To quote the introduction: The Epic of Askia Mohammed recounts the life of the most famous ruler of the Songhay empire, a man who reigned in Gao, an old city in present-day eastern Mali, from […]

The Wanderer by Jane Holland

This, according to the blurb, is a ‘controversial reworking’ of the famous Anglo-Saxon poem of the same name*. ‘Controversial’ and ‘famous’ are both relative terms here, of course. I assume the controversy mainly arose because the poem is given a female narrator. To quote the introduction: I also transformed the male ‘Wanderer’ of the poem’s title into […]

Exotic Territory: A Bilingual Anthology of Contemporary Paraguayan Poetry, ed. & trans. Ronald Haladyna

This is my book from Paraguay for the Read The World challenge. I previously bought a copy of I, the Supreme by Augusto Roa Bastos, but that’s a fat dense modernist novel and it defeated me. I always find it frustrating reading poetry in translation. I mean, even with English-language poetry I often find myself uncertain, not knowing what to think; […]

Para Vasco: poemas da Guiné-Bissau / For Vasco: poems from Guinea-Bissau

This is my book from Guinea-Bissau for the Read The World challenge. Although ‘book’ is almost overselling it; it’s a pamphlet really. A total of twelve poems by nine poets, and even with an introduction, acknowledgements and the poems in both English and Portuguese, it’s only 44 pages. But the choices were limited; the only […]

My Urohs by Emelihter Kihleng

This is my book from Micronesia* for the Read The World challenge. It is apparently the first collection of poetry by a Pohnpeian poet. I have to admit, I didn’t pick it up with a great deal of enthusiasm; my main reaction when it arrived in the post was oh well, at least it’s short. Because […]

Songs Of Love by Konai Helu Thaman

Full title: Songs Of Love: New And Selected Poems (1974-1999). This was going to be my book for Kiribati for the Read The World challenge, but it turns out I misread the listing: the illustrator is from Kiribati, the poet is from Tonga. But I didn’t have a book for Tonga, so that’s fine. I’ve […]

Translations From The Night by Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo

Rabearivelo was a poet writing in Madagascar in the 20s and 30s — he killed himself in 1937 at the age of 36. He wrote in French; some of his later poems claimed to be translated from Malagasy, but according to this anthology’s introduction, the evidence suggests it was the other way round: that he wrote them […]

Mama Lily and the Dead by Nicolette Bethel

Mama Lily and the Dead is my book from the Bahamas for the Read The World challenge. It’s a collection of poems which tell Lily’s life story, running from ‘The Scotsman Gives Lily Her Name (1904)’ to ‘The Granddaughter Sings Lily Home (1994)’. I know Nico a bit via the world of internet poetry, and I’d read some […]

The Chattering Wagtails of Mikuyu Prison and Skipping Without Ropes by Jack Mapanje

I was searching around for a book from Malawi for the Read The World challenge, and found very cheap second-hand copies for sale of these two books of poetry by Jack Mapanje. And since poetry books are generally very short by nature, I thought I might as well buy both. Since I’ve read some fairly […]

Who Needs a Story? — Contemporary Eritrean Poetry in Tigrinya, Tigre and Arabic

Who Needs a Story? is my book from Eritrea for the Read The World challenge. Given that the country only gained independence in 1993 after a 30 year war, it’s not really surprising that the anthology is dominated by patriotic poems about the Eritrean struggle. Unfortunately, most of them read as very generic examples of […]

Harry’s advent calendar of birds, day 2: Japanese Bush-warbler

while I’m gone you and the nightingale are in charge my snail uguisu to / rusu wo shite ore / katatsuburi Except that the uguisu is not actually a nightingale; it’s the Japanese Bush Warbler, Cettia diphone. It has often been translated as ‘nightingale’ because it has similar poetic associations; it is famous in Japan for its song […]

Links

text-o-possum…the future! 'Bluetooth laser virtual keyboard encased in elegant possum.' (del.icio.us tags: computers possums ) That Which Does Not Kill Me Makes Me Stranger – New York Times via Mind Hacks, an extraordinary article about an ultra-long distance cyclist: 'The craziness is methodical, however, and Robic and his crew know its pattern by heart. Around […]

Equal to the Earth by Jee Leong Koh

I know Jee on the internet — originally via PFFA, the online poetry forum, but also now through his blog, Song of a Reformed Headhunter — so I already knew I liked his poems. And as a bonus, Equal to the Earth serves as my book from Singapore for the Read The World challenge. Jee is, […]

The Golden Boat by Srečko Kosovel

According to the dust jacket, Srečko Kosovel is ‘often called the Slovene Rimbaud’.* Mainly, as far as I can gather, because he wrote all his poetry very young; not, like Rimbaud, because he decided to run off and do something else, but because he died at 22. I found The Golden Boat: Selected Poems of Srečko […]

Poem

The whitethroat on the gorse bush knows  the opposite of cold is song; the beetle on the burnet rose knows the whitethroat to be wrong.

The Butterfly’s Burden by Mahmoud Darwish

The Butterfly’s Burden is a translation of three books by the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish who died earlier this year: The Stranger’s Bed (1998), A State of Siege (2002) and Don’t Apologise for What You’ve Done (2003). It’s a parallel text edition, which always makes me feel terribly learned, but in practice is just a […]

Pulp Beowulf

A link from C. Dale Young sent me to this article which is rather unflattering about a scheme to promote poetry in Seattle. What got me going, though, was this, from someone defending the scheme in the comments: On comprehending poetry: you say “Poetry, by its very definition, is a difficult thing to write and to comprehend.” […]

Links

Surroundings: Education for Leisure 'It’s good to see the authorities finally getting to the root of the problem of street violence. For years it’s been obvious that studious poetry-reading youths have been terrorising our streets, and how it’s taken so long for the authorities to make the connection between poetry readers and knife crime is […]

Black Stone by Grace Mera Molisa

One for the Read The World challenge. Wikipedia only mentions one writer from Vanuatu: Grace Mera Molisa. There was a copy of Black Stone, her first book of poems, for sale on AbeBooks, so I thought I’d give it a punt. This is political poetry: Black Stone was published in 1983, just three years after Vanuatu […]

Links

Silver Lake on Flickr – Photo Sharing! Autochromes are a kind of early colour photography. This one is particularly fabulous, but check out the whole set. (del.icio.us tags: autochromes photos ) Running for Office: It’s Like A Flamewar with a Forum Troll, but with an Eventual Winner OK, fair's fair, this is quite funny. (del.icio.us […]

‘Breaking the Rules’ at the British Library

I realised that Breaking the Rules: The Printed Face of the European Avant Garde 1900 – 1937 was about to close, so I popped in today for a quick gander. As ever at the BL, the range of material was impressive: they really do own a lot of stuff. Eliot, Bretton, Man Ray, Lorca, Mayakovsky, […]

More modernism and art

One obvious point to make in passing: even if there is some kind of profound connection between someone’s political leanings and the form they choose when they write a poem*, that connection is not stable over time. It meant something different to be writing sonnets in 1520 than to be writing them in 1820 or […]

Did he who made the lamb make thee?

Today is William Blake’s 250th birthday. Happy birthday, William. The Chimney-Sweeper A little black thing among the snow, Crying ‘weep, weep’ in notes of woe! ‘Where are thy father and mother? Say!’ ‘They are both gone up to the church to pray. ‘Because I was happy upon the heath, And smiled among the winter’s snow, […]