In this episode, we dive into the innovative poetry and translations of Asymptote‘s Winter Issue. First, we take a look at the rhythmic poetry of South African poet Toast Coetzer, which blurs the line between music and poetry. Then we examine how Victoria Cóccaro and Rebekah Boudon translated Pablo Katchadjian’s supposedly untranslatable poem “Martin Fierro Ordered Alphabetically.” After that we’ll listen to Rajiv Mohabir wonderful translation of Lalbihari Sharma’s folk songs from Holi Songs of Demerara. And finally, we’ll see how Jared Pearce brought ancient Babylonia to America with his poetic translations from Babylonians as Americans as Babylonians. This is the Asymptote Podcast.
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"technically speaking, you’ll clasp her to your knees. / you’ll clean her fish ponds / to make her laugh."
it morned. godded.
thin soup enspooned on the stove.
an emotion to match. an H on the access tabulations,
in lukewarm plates. like H, like morn.
i didn’t go to the Hraveyard with dad.
not even when things prayered down on him. READ MORE…
Translated by our editor-at-large Mirza Purić
She died quietly, she died the death of those who love stubbornly, angrily, jealously, secretly, and
elephantishly. At a neighbour’s urge, she treated rheumatoid arthritis with crude oil. The therapy resulted in second-degree burns. On the inside of my eyelids I sketch her knees – two magical orbs of glass – and I rub them with devil’s claw unguent. Prayer and displeasure spill softly in the room in which we are alone and furtive, for
where, why, and for whom does the devil
make unguent from his claw? She died quietly, to render loud some mornings that had tumbled down and stuck into me like hedgehogs. I sketch those mornings as a
crooked bicycle tyre. I push the bicycle uphill into the whitish dawn, I hurry to spill before her the smell of the lead from the newspaper, the smell of the pastry which is a crumbled sketch of her face on the inside of my eyelids. The way I close the distance between us is like the way her eyebrows come together in a frown, she pushes hard sugar cubes into my mouth, and I buzz in the garden for hours and I sip the sap of a liquorice. I sketch her as READ MORE…
Translated by our editor-at-large Mirza Puric
Death likes pretty names.
Pelvic bones make good stirrups.
Gypsies’ cruelty to jades Madame Geneticist has always admired.
Lamp him across the gob, Joshka.
Translated from the Serbian by Mirza Puriç
In September 1992, I started school. We lived in the country back then, in one of those Voivodinian villages headed for extinction. Small, fat and grubby-faced, I dragged my green, cube-shaped, double-buckled rucksack—emblazoned with apples, a motif from Snowy White, I suppose—full of Serbian, maths, science and social studies text books. I may have also had a container of that white glue, the one that came with a plastic spatula, the one that smelt of dairy products.
Translated by Mirza Purić
SORTIE AT DAYBREAK
You can hear the dreaming of a bird
The close-eyed water
Every moment a sound
Leaves the heart
The lamp dissolves the skin of someone’s shadow
By the chair leg
And you’re the eye of a calf
God may approach you
The Cantos inhabits
Dead men have no mothers
(I’m feeling uncountable
relax relax darling
after all these years)
I’m pregnant she says
There is more
Soil in me than usual READ MORE…