Undress Yourself and Dress Me in Your Body
There is something very striking and particular in the way that the Georgian poets, Diana Amphimiadi, whom we translated with Natalia earlier this year, and Nato Ingorovka approach writing about their subjective experiences. Although they are very different poets, they share a desire to explore femininity in fresh and challenging ways - as is demonstrated by this complex - even mysterious - poem by Nato which begins with the immediately arresting image, 'Undress yourself and dress me in your body'. There is no marker for gender in Georgian, which makes it impossible to tell whether the 'you' addressed in the poem is male or female - and the poem seems to revel in that fluidity of reference.
The opening lines of the poem, as you'll see if you compare this final version with Natalia's literal translation, were quite straightforward. A lot of discussion went into the lines about 'womanly perfume' and 'coffee in the morning' in how to make the connection between those two images. We also grappled with the lines about the returning swallows and much of the ordering of imagery in the second stanza. But overall, the apparent simplicity of the language of the poem belies its complex, compelling depths.
Sarah Maguire, Workshop Facilitator