This week we turn to a poem about rain from the southern hemisphere that figures rain not only as a natural phenomenon, but also as a metaphysical symbol – as the desire for change and the erasure of boundaries.
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We’re continuing our theme of meteorological poems for this week’s poem podcast, ‘Rain’ by the wonderful Kurdish poet, Kajal Ahmad. The first sentence of this small, melancholy poem announces the tasks rain performs:
Following on from last week’s poem-podcast, ‘An Afternoon at Snowfall’, we’ve selected another chilly poem in harmony with the weather: ‘Snow’ by the wonderful Iranian poet, Azita Ghahreman, who now lives in exile in snowy Sweden.
This season we will be translating Georgian Poet Diana Amphimiadi with Natalia Bukia-Peters, looking at Kurdish Poetry with Mohammad Mustafaand translating poems in French by the Haitian poet Frankétienne with André Naffis-Sahely
An Afternoon at Snowfall was written Kurdish poet by Dilawar Karadaghi and translated by Choman Hardi and the Poetry Translation Centre Workshop. What makes this such a powerful poem is the calm, detailed way the poet articulates his sense of radical displacement by patiently naming all the small, ordinary things that make up the ‘here’ he has lost.
This week we are finishing our round up of the most popular podcasts from the Poetry Translation Centre archive with ‘Are You the One?’ by Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi, translated by Sarah Maguire and Atef Alshaer. This poem was first released as a podcast in 2014 and has been an enduring favourite.
Broadcaster and translator, Dawood Azami was the BBC World Service Bureau Chief in Kabul from 2010 to 2011. Now he returns to the Poetry Translation Centre to lead a workshop focusing on poetry written in Pashto, one of the two official languages of Afghanistan.
This, the final poem inspired by the Petrie Museum’s collections of objects from the ancient Sudanese kingdom of Meroe, displays its concerns with language and the authority of who speaks from its powerful opening line ‘I return from a language that knows me’
This poem was written in response to a jar-like vessel held in the Petrie Museum’s collection from the ancient Sudanese kingdom of Meroe that has three monkeys sculpted onto its surface so that the animals seem to be following each other in a circle around the jar.
When we translated Fouad Mohammad Fouad’s magnificent poem, ‘Aleppo Diary’, in January 2013, no one could have envisaged how the violence could have escalated to a state of total war nearly three years later. Nor how the conflict could have forced 11 million Syrians to flee their homes.