Saturday, 20 January 2018

"Vitsvit" ("White Blight") by Athena Farrokhzad

It's very shiny and difficult to capture with a camera - but the content is at least as fantastic. It's the first poetry book I have liked from cover to cover, ever. I want to learn almost every phrase. Short and deep. Short and poetic, not all poetry is. Identity, language, family, war - I am with her, I understand her mother, I understand her father, I understand her grandmother and I understand her uncle and brother. They are the voices that speak, and ask her - who's father are you writing about? I want to be buried in a country where people can pronounce my name. Only when you have buried your mother there, can you call the country yours. AND OTHER WISDOM.
In high school, we got the task to work with Geoffrey Chaucer's work. I found his English books and while waiting for the translation to come from a different library, which would happen next week, I translated it myself. This is work behind the scenes teachers had no idea about. Then came the official, brilliant and intricate translation and I saw, with the the very experienced eye of a 17 year old, that my attempts were fair but should for equally fair reasons be ignored. My point is: you just witnessed an impovement of a brief translation session more than a decade later.

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