April 13, 2019
Translating poetry requires both a deep knowledge of the original language and of the poem’s historical, cultural, and literary context; more than anything, though, it requires a still deeper knowledge of the language into which it’s being translated, the translator’s own language. Added to this must be a love of that language, the language of the person receiving and then transforming the poem into a new poem—creating a new path.
Attempting to “transport” Emily Dickinson’s poems into Portuguese is a still harder task, because Dickinson’s poetry is notable for its peculiar agrammaticality: unexpected plurals, inverted syntax, and an often complete disregard for gender, person, or agreement between nouns and verbs……..
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March 25, 2019
The great poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti is 100 years old!
What an amazing life he’s led.
Ferlinghetti is also a novelist, painter, photographer, and co-founder of the legendary City Lights bookstore.
The history of American Literature in the 20th century cannot be written without the contributions of this extraordinary artist.
And his creative fire is still burning.
His new novel “Little Boy” will be published this month.
Ferlinghetti is a national treasure.
Here’s just a few of his many magnificent poems:
I Am Waiting
The World is a Beautiful Place
Pity the Nation
June 27, 2013
Aimé Césaire: a leader of the (cultural) struggle
By Philip Crispin
‘I am on the side of those who are oppressed.’ – Aimé Césaire
Aimé Césaire, the great poet, politician and playwright, was born in Martinique on 26 June, 1913. He died in 2008.
He shall be forever associated with the philosophy of negritude that he espoused with a huge impact on the francophone black world from the 1930s onwards. On the wave of Jamaican national hero Marcus Garvey’s ‘Back to Africa’ movement, negritude was a banner for ‘black consciousness’ avant la lettre, a rejection of and a riposte to disabling white mythologies. It straddled both a political project and a poetic renewal, confronting the violence of colonialism with cataclysmic passion.
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June 5, 2013
Recent Palestinian Literary Activism
Poetry has a long history in the Middle East (as author Khaled Furani examines in one of the new books listed below), and Palestinians in the footsteps of Mahmoud Darwish and many other predecessors are turning to poetry and forms of new literacies to deal with the political turmoil of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Palestinian writer Susan Abulhawa recently published a poem for Samer Issawi, the Palestinian activist currently imprisoned in Israel. In February 2013, a movement began to increase awareness of the state of Issawi and a few other Palestinian prisoners who had all been on a hunger strike since August 2012. Also in February, Palestinian-American poet and human-rights activist Remi Kanazi performed poetry regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and injustices in general for student activist groups at Swarthmore College.
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June 1, 2013
I Dream A World
I dream a world where man
No other will scorn,
Where love will bless the earth
And peace its paths adorn.
I dream a world where all
Will know sweet freedom’s way,
Where greed no longer saps the soul
Nor avarice blights our day.
A world I dream where black or white,
Whatever race you be,
Will share the bounties of the earth
And every man is free,
Where wretchedness will hang its head,
And joy, like a pearl,
Attend the needs of all mankind.
Of such I dream-
– Langston Hughes