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Translate Somali poetry with Maxamed Xasan ‘Alto’ with Somali Week Express & Off the Shelf Festival

Israac Somali Community Centre

Join the Poetry Translation Centre for a collaborative poetry translation workshop at the Israac Somali Community Centre. Working with guest translator Maxamed Xasan ‘Alto’ and poet facilitator Helen Bowell, the group will work together to translate a poem by a living Somali poet into English. The workshops are open to everyone and participants don’t need any prior knowledge of the language being translated.

The PTC’s poetry translation workshops offer an inclusive, collaborative form of literary appreciation and cultural discovery through the act of translating. The workshop starts with the poem being read in the original language so everyone can hear its cadence and music, at the end the brand-new English translation is read aloud for the first time. It is a magical moment.

Ahead of each workshop, the translator prepares a guide translation to allow everyone to participate in the process, and during the session, they are on hand to offer guidance on the language and poetry. In this case, guest-translator Alto will be able to illuminate the culture of Somali poetry. Poet-facilitator Helen will draw out contributions from the group to create a collaborative translation.

The process is thought-provoking, with participants rethinking what it means to translate, and opening up wider questions about creativity, culture and language. There is no better way to celebrate the famous Somali love of poetry.

This event will take place at Somali Week Express in Sheffield, hosted by Kayd Somali Arts and Culture, in partnership with Off the Shelf Festival. This will be a weekend of events with Somali artists, writers and comedians at Israac Community Centre on 4-5 November 2023. The Poetry Translation Centre is also hosting a Polylingual Open Mic on Saturday 4 November at the festival, where anyone is welcome to get up and share a poem in any language - no translation needed.

This event is supported by Arts Council England.

Book a free ticket here.

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