Podcasts

/

Audiobooks

But by Azita Ghahreman

Featuring: Azita Ghahreman, Elhum Shakerifar, Maura Dooley

when I first saw Azita’s work in Farsi, it was simply a beautiful pattern on paper. Finding her on YouTube was a great moment. Hearing those musical cadences and, more particularly, the tone of some of the poems, helped me build a sense of mood and intention. Elhum Shakerifar proved to be the vital bridge in her role as literal translator. 

Elhum’s approach provided a meticulously prepared seedbed. She responded to every question of mine, ‘but could this also mean..?’/’but what about the earlier use of…?’/’but does this have any significance in Persian culture…?’/’But is this a political reference…?’ with detailed responses, double-checking everything with Azita. Furthermore she is a sensitive and nuanced interpreter – questioning and thorough. I could not have been luckier than in my partnership with Elhum.

One of the most interesting dilemmas for me, in creating a version of work from a living poet, whom I was to meet , came from Azita’s responses to some of the questions I asked.  Often Azita would reply along the lines of, ‘well, what I think I was trying to say there was…..’ Should I incorporate in my version an inference and understanding gleaned in conversation with Azita but not directly from the poem itself? Or should I add this interesting subsequent gloss to the initial understanding I had gained from the poem itself? The answer, of course, is that sometimes it was appropriate to do so and sometimes it was not. I should not have been surprised by this aspect of the experience. I know that moments in some of my own poems seem clearer to me now, years after they were written. Yet, I had not anticipated this as an element in the work of translation.

From Maura Dooley on Translating Azita Ghahreman

If you would like to support the Poetry Translation Centre please visit poetrytranslation.org/support-us