Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Poetry by Adam Zagajewski

The Polish Poet Adam Zagajewski read today at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. He read entirely from his new collection Unseen Hand, which so far has only been published in the USA and is not yet available to readers in the UK. His poetry is quietly spoken and full of detail and depth. He has a keen eye too for nature, as demonstrated most particularly in this reading by the poem Swifts Storming St Catherine's Church, which describes the swifts' aerobatics around a ruined gothic church. He states that the swift needs both eyes and hearts to understand them, which I think is a statement that applies to all of nature.

After the reading there was a lively audience discussion about translation. Zagajewski writes all his poetry in Polish and it is translated by Clare Cavanagh. Given the number of Polish people currently living in Edinburgh (and attending this particular event) it would have been interesting to have had heard him read the poems in the original Polish and to have had another poet read the translations in English.

Adam Zagajewski's page on the Poetry Foundation website has links to some of his poems.

Disclaimer, I had a free press ticket for this event.

Later, I went to Story Shop, the free event which is showcasing a different up and coming Edinburgh writer every day. Today, Nasim Marie Jafry read two very short stories.


Gołębnik said...

Swifts in Polish provide a great pun, because ‘swift’ is ‘jerzyk’, which is pronounced exactly the same as ‘jeżyk’, which means ‘hedgehog’! So you can imagine hedgehogs swooping and calling, high up in the sky.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Golebnik - that is just priceless, what a great image that gives me! A great example of something that is entirely lost in translation too

Anonymous said...

The issue of translation is endlessly fascinating to me, particularly in regard to poetry - it must be incredibly difficult a task and prone to errors at all levels - but worth the effort, obviously - thanks for this post CGP