01 43 15 50 67

for Fabienne

By the time we finished talking it has snowed
We’d laughed and sighed like a pair of sisters
Can you see this caribou from your window it’s a cloud
A moose an ermine little moving fox
It changes every moment changes to sky-blue-sky
If the night has stars in it it’s a promise of blue
Have you checked out the chimney-stacks the great she-bears
We ought to see oceans more
We shouldn’t need a second glance to make out a giraffe
All white white white white where you are as well?
A squid a cuttlefish an octopus might add a splash of ink
All white white white without red rabbit eyes
We mustn’t make each other late time’s getting on I’d better go
There are some in dotty frocks and some in geometric shapes
And oh I almost forgot
Old things float up and new ones too
A slotted spoon a convalescence or a precious stone
Jewel of sleeping water there was a cat called that
It was
Drowned jewel
Clouds don’t miaow though jewellery can trickle down
When we stopped our oneversation we came down as snow

by Valérie Rouzeau; translated by Susan Wicks

This is the final Weekly Poem of 2015. The poems will return to your inbox on 11 January. A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our readers!

‘01 43 15 50 67’ is copyright © Valérie Rouzeau; translated by Susan Wicks, 2013. It is reprinted from Talking Vrouz by Valérie Rouzeau, published by Arc Publications (2013).

This poem continues our series featuring work from collections shortlisted for The Poetry Society’s Popescu European Poetry Translation Prize 2015, judged by Olivia McCannon and Clare Pollard, and supported in 2015 by the British Council. The winner of the competition was Iain Galbraith, who translated Jan Wagner’s book Self-Portrait with a Swarm of Bees (Arc Publications, 2015). You can find out more about the competition and all the shortlisted books on the Poetry Society website.

Susan Wicks
, poet and novelist, was born in Kent, and has lived and worked in France, Ireland and America. She is the author of six collections of poetry including House of Tongues (2011), Singing Underwater (1992), which won the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival Prize, and The Clever Daughter (1996), which was shortlisted for both the T. S. Eliot and Forward Prizes. She was one of the Poetry Society’s ‘New Generation Poets’ in 1994. Cold Spring in Winter (2010), her translation of Valérie Rouzeau’s first major collection, Pas revoir, was shortlisted both for the Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize for Literary Translation and the International Griffin Prize for Poetry, and won that year’s Scott Moncrieff Prize for Translation from French. Her translation of Valérie Rouzeau’s second collection in English, Talking Vrouz, won the Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize for Literary Translation in 2014. You can read a discussion with Susan and Valérie on the Arc website, and hear the pair read one of Valérie’s poems and its translation together.

Valérie Rouzeau was born in 1967 in Burgundy, France and now lives in a small town near Paris, Saint-Ouen, well-known for its flea-market. She has published a dozen collections of poems, including Pasrevoir (l’Idée Bleue, 1999), Va où (Le Temps qu’il Fait, 2002) and more recently Apothicaria (Wigwam, 2007) and Mange-Matin (l’Idée Bleue, 2008). She has also published volumes translated from Sylvia Plath, William Carlos Williams, Ted Hughes and the photographer Duane Michals. She is the editor of a little review of poetry for children (from 5 to 117 years old) called dans la lune and lives mainly by her pen through public readings, poetry workshops in schools, radio broadcasts and translation. Valérie was selected to represent France in the 2012 Cultural Olympiad Poetry Parnassus in London.

Since it was founded in 1969, Arc Publications has adhered to its fundamental principles – to introduce the best of new talent to a UK readership, including voices from overseas that would otherwise remain unheard in this country, and to remain at the cutting edge of contemporary poetry. Arc also has a music imprint, Arc Music, for the publication of books about music and musicians. As well as its page on Facebook, you can find Arc on Twitter. Visit Arc’s website to join the publisher’s mailing list, and to find full details of all publications and writers. Arc offers a 10% discount on all books purchased from the website (except Collectors’ Corner titles). Postage and packing is free within the UK.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.

Lesson

It was a shadowy yard, walled high with stones.
The trees held early apples, dark
wine-coloured skin, the perfected flavour of things
ripe before their time.
Clay jugs sat alongside the wall.
I ate apples and sipped the purest water,
knowing the outside world had stopped dead from heat.
Then my father appeared and tweaked my nose,
and he wasn’t sick and hadn’t died, either;
that’s why he was laughing, blood
stirring in his face again,
he was hunting for ways to spend this happiness:
where’s my chisel, my fishing pole,
what happened to my snuffbox, my coffee cup?
I always dream something’s taking shape,
nothing is ever dead.
What seems to have died fertilises.
What seems motionless waits.


by Adélia Prado; translated by Ellen Doré Watson

The Poetry Centre recently announced the winners of its inaugural International Poetry Competition, which received nearly 900 entries from all over the world. In the Open category, the winner was Siobhan Campbell, with second place going to Claire Askew. There was a Special Commendation for Wes Lee. In the ESL category, the winner was Marie-Aline Roemer, with Armel Dagorn in second place, and a Special Commendation for Hanne Busck-Nielsen. You can read the winning poems and see the shortlist and longlist on the Centre’s website.


‘Lesson’ is copyright © Adélia Prado; translated by Ellen Doré Watson, 2014. It is reprinted from The Mystical Rose: Selected Poems by Adélia Prado, published by Bloodaxe Books (2014).

This poem continues our series featuring work from collections shortlisted for The Poetry Society’s Popescu European Poetry Translation Prize 2015, judged by Olivia McCannon and Clare Pollard, and supported in 2015 by the British Council. The winner of the competition was Iain Galbraith, who translated Jan Wagner’s book Self-Portrait with a Swarm of Bees (Arc Publications, 2015). You can find out more about the competition and all the shortlisted books on the Poetry Society website.

Poet & translator Ellen Doré Watson directs the Poetry Center at Smith College and has translated over a dozen books from the Brazilian Portuguese, most notably poetry by Brazilian Adélia Prado, including The Mystical Rose (Bloodaxe, 2014). She has also translated from the Arabic with co-translator Saadi Simawi. Recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship, Watson serves on the faculty of the Drew University Graduate Program in Poetry and Translation and as Poetry & Translation editor of The Massachusetts Review. She was shortlisted for The Poetry Society’s Popescu European Poetry Translation Prize in 2015 for her translation of The Mystical Rose by Adélia Prado (Bloodaxe Books). Read more about the book here.

Adélia Luzia Prado de Freitas (Adélia Prado) was born in 1935 and has lived all her life in the provincial, industrial city of Divinópolis, in Minas Gerais (General Mines), the Brazilian state that has produced more presidents and poets than any other in the country. She was the only one in her family of labourers to see the ocean, to go to college, or to dream of writing a book. She attended the University of Divinópolis, earning degrees in Philosophy and Religious Education, and taught in schools until 1979. Adélia Prado has been the subject of dozens of theses and dissertations, as well as a documentary film and countless articles, profiles, and interviews in newspapers, literary supplements, and popular magazines, and her work has been translated into Spanish, Italian and English. In June 2014 Prado received the Griffin Lifetime Achievement Award in Canada. You can find out more about Prado on the Bloodaxe website.

Bloodaxe Books is internationally renowned for quality in literature and excellence in book design, and its authors and books have won virtually every major literary award given to poetry, from the T.S. Eliot Prize and Pulitzer to the Nobel Prize. You can read more about Bloodaxe on the publisher’s website.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.

‘the is of the silence in the room’

the is of the silence in the room
the is of the walls, each so different
the is of the sunshine on the curtain
the greying is of the dust
through the thin is of the glass
the is of the sparrow outside the window
the is of the child on the grass, chasing a butterfly
the is of the butterfly in the net
the floating is of the cloud

and once again: I am

in this vast
circular spherical nobody’s
agape virulent scorching
grass-strong swift-winged quick-legged
dripping rabid
acute
is


by Krystyna Miłobędzka; translated by Elżbieta Wójcik-Leese

the is of the silence in the room’ is copyright © Krystyna Miłobędzka; translated by Elżbieta Wójcik-Leese, 2013. It is reprinted from Nothing More by Krystyna Miłobędzka, published by Arc Publications (2013).

This poem continues our series featuring work from collections shortlisted for The Poetry Society’s Popescu European Poetry Translation Prize 2015, judged by Olivia McCannon and Clare Pollard, and supported in 2015 by the British Council. The winner of the competition was Iain Galbraith, who translated Jan Wagner’s book Self-Portrait with a Swarm of Bees (Arc Publications, 2015). You can find out more about the competition and all the shortlisted books on the Poetry Society website.

Elżbieta Wójcik-Leese writes between English, Polish and Danish; her multilingual texts have appeared in such journals as ShearsmanCordite Poetry ReviewModern Poetry in Translation, on the London Underground and in anthologies. She has published numerous translated collections including Nothing More (Arc, 2013), her selection from Krystyna Miłobędzka, and Salt Monody (Zephyr Press, 2006) by Marzanna Kielar. She has co-edited Carnivorous Boy Carnivorous Bird: Poetry from Poland (Zephyr Press, 2004), guest-edited Polish issues of Poetry Wales and Modern Poetry in Translation, and is a contributing editor at Poetry Wales, where she regularly reviews translated books. She teaches poetry-in-translation courses for the Poetry School in London and works at the Centre for Internationalisation and Parallel Language Use, University of Copenhagen. Arc’s website features three essays by Wójcik-Leese about her translations of Miłobędzka’s poetry.

Krystyna Miłobędzka was born in Margonin, Poland, in 1932. She is an author of twelve books of poetry, including a collected poems, Zbierane1960-2005 (Gathered 1960-2005), which appeared in 2006, and zbierane, gubione (gathered, lost) in 2010. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, was nominated for the NIKE Prize in 2006, and won the Silesius Award in 2009, and again in 2013 for Lifetime Achievement. She lives in Puszczykowo near Poznań. You can find out more about Nothing More on the Arc website.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.