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A Feather by Shakila Azizzada

Featuring: Mimi Khalvati, Shakila Azizzada, Zuzanna Olszewska

Shakila has spent many years in the Netherlands and her poetry reflects both her Afghan heritage and her European influences. She also writes in Dutch and translates her own poetry both ways.  She is a very musical poet,  tender and intimate, but also uncompromising in her political poems, and sometimes surreal – a poet of range and courage.  Many of the poems, or parts of them, were relatively straightforward to translate and, perhaps because of the European influence, seemed to slip happpily into English.  Shakila’s voice is not as adorned as some poetry in Farsi that I have read, and is idiomatic and sometimes humourous or satiric.  I speak colloquial Farsi and this of course was a great help as, with Zuzanna’s help, I could understand most of the original.  Zuzanna also recorded a tape for me of the poems we were working on and this, more than anything else, helped me to try and find equivalent idioms while replicating the musical phrases.

From Mimi Khalvati on Translating Shakila Azizzada by Mimi Khalvati