Let’s Do It Again
Working only with the poem on the page, it’s difficult to convey the power of Amarachi Attamah’s performances. One way we’ve tried to do this is by keeping the Igbo exclamations: ‘chai!’ and ‘hei’. ‘Chai’, as it is used in this poem, expresses ecstasy, awe, intense pleasure. With ‘chai! my torrent’, we hope to convey the power of water and of the voice.
One of the most enjoyable and knotted parts of this translation was the part where the lovers pee together. The original draws on an Igbo saying that tells us something like: peeing alone doesn’t make much froth, but when we pee together (on the earth) it froths well. This carries a message about working together. We talked a lot about where and how the poem moves between childlike play and the sexual, and decided it holds both together: a deep, playful love; an intimacy that binds the lovers together in past and present.
Miriam Nash, Workshop Facilitator