Salome Benidze is a young poet, born in 1986, and a known blogger who has translated both Salman Rushdie and David Beckham (each of which, I imagine, must have been extraordinarily challenging in different ways). We loved this poem’s lucid power - its way of using simple language yet making it strange - right from the imperative of its first line.
The line that caused most debate was translated in the literal by Natalia as ‘One palm distance road’ and explained by her as meaning ‘a road the length of the palm of a hand’ (with the added layer of meaning that in Georgian the palm is called the hand’s ‘heart’). We struggled over this for ages as in English when you put the words palm and road together it’s hard not to think of of palm-fringed Hollywood boulevards. We played with the palmistry term ‘heartline’ and rearranged the line numerous times before one workshop participant had a eureka moment and came up with ‘one handful of road’, a really elegant solution (although we did lose the heart).
Clare Pollard, Poet Facilitator