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UN / WROTED - Polylingual Poetry from the Undertow Eight

Mousetrap Theatre Projects

Poetry skipping and hopping between languages, over borders and between identities. Join the Undertow Eight Polylingual Poets reading work developed as part of the Poetry Translation Centre’s Undertow programme.

These young poets, aged between 16 and 26 will be drawing on languages from across the globe to bring you an evening of multilingual poetry, including work that exists in multiple languages, reaches across cultures and opens up a multiverse of creativity. The event will feature poems that play fast and loose between English and a range of other languages including Arabic, Mandarin, Hebrew, Spanish, Ukrainian, Persia, Taqbaylit and French infused Gordie.

As well as their individual contributions the poets will present a multilingual Renga, a Japanese form of collaborative poetry where different poets pen alternating stanzas.

Undertow is the Poetry Translation Centre's youth programme. In 2021 they had their first call for submission under the banner: Polylingual Poets Please, a scheme for young mixed heritage poets interested in working with multiple languages. The young poets worked with the Mexican-Scottish poet and translator Juana Adcock to develop their polylingual poetry practice, creating poems that jump the fence and exist in multiple languages and speak to many experiences, all at once.

Lydia Hounat, Undertow participant from Manchester, said:

“Meeting other mixed-heritage poets for me has meant finding people that identify with complex experiences, that feeling of self-imposed division and yet togetherness we embody. Having that safe space to openly converse about that and create has forged unique friendships and offered me a home for thoughts and emotions I’ve felt incapable of expressing since forever.”

Phoebe Wagner Undertow participant, poet and community artist from London said:

“Emerging out of the various lockdowns into this online and irl space has been joyous. I feel less alone knowing there are other poets like me: who struggle to hold multiple languages as they split and fracture in our mouths.”

The UNDERTOW poets are Reem Abbas, Nasim Rebecca Asl, Liv Goldreich, Lydia Hounat, Charlotte Shevchenko Knight, Phoebe Wagner, Maggie Wang and Fathima Zahra.

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