Poems

Leaving

Notes

Hari Rajaledchumy, the translator for this session, explained that Anar's poetry is often influenced by the folkloric stories she heard as a child, embedded in the landscape of Sri Lanka, as well as by the tactics of fragmentation developed in recent modernist poetry in Tamil. When translating the poem, we found this to be the case. So much of the poem seems to hinge on unexpected juxtaposition - the daydream set against the violent imagery and the busy ants, the ending which mixes the grisly description of a cut vein bleeding out with lyrical flight. The logic of the poem seemed to be generated by paradox and syntactical disruption. It was not always clear from the Tamil if the sense of the preceding line should be carried into the next line or not (as was the case between first stanza and second). New images and ideas arrived without the reassuring fluidity of coherent narrative. At times this confused us. In the third stanza it is not wholly clear in the Tamil if it is the ennui (the futility, as we translated it) or the ants which cut through the cartilage. In this instance, we opted for the former but tried to arrange the English so that it retained some of that confusion, allowing the reader to judge for themselves whether to carry the sense over the line breaks or not.

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