With a Red Flower by Azita Ghahreman

Featuring: Azita Ghahreman, Maura Dooley, Elhum Shakerifar

I should note that some of Azita’s poetry is also quite challenging to understand for a Persian speaking audience – although the inherent mood and rhythm of poetry can allow you to forgive and gloss over the fact that sometimes expressions or images doesn’t make complete logical sense. For the translations, however, all three of us felt it was important to give some additional pointers to the English speaking audience, so that they can understand at least one of the layered meanings – whether cultural or personal – and so that misunderstandings were not thought to be a product of the translation. Azita, who is currently also translating all her work into Swedish with a Swedish translator, told me that she was aware of the difficulty her work poses for translators, as every single word can have a hidden meaning.

Maura and I decided to change some of the initial choices made, and swap one of the newer and longer poems for two shorter poems that referenced the theme of exile, which up till now hadn’t been valorised through the choice of poems – 'When Winter Comes' and 'The Boat That Brought Me'. Azita wasn’t very pleased with this decision at first, as they have already been translated elsewhere, but in the end, she thinks that 'When Winter Comes' is one of the strongest translations of all, so she’s happy with the choice.

Read more of Elhum Shakerifar on Translating Azita Ghahreman

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In 2018 we will publish a collection of Azita's poetry with Bloodaxe Books.