A celebration of women’s poetry for International Women’s Day 2017

Featured image from “The Infinite Body Of Sensation” by Salma Caller

 

salmacallerSalma Ahmad Caller is an artist and a hybrid of cultures and faiths. She is drawn to hybrid and ornamental forms, and to how the body expresses itself in the mind to create an embodied ‘image’. UK based, she was born in Iraq to an Egyptian father and a British mother and grew up in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. With a background in art history and theory, medicine and pharmacology, and several years teaching cross-cultural ways of seeing via non-Western artefacts at Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, she now works as an independent artist and teacher.

salma caller artists statement [PDF]

“In the Glass Coffin” by Kim Myeong-sun

Today, I withstood agony again,
Because my life is still lingering,
Trapped in scarcely visible sorrow.
If my body is trapped
Like the life of a dinky, dinky thing,
What is with all this sorrow, this pain?
Like the bygone prince,
Who had loved the forbidden woman,
I believed I would live if I danced in the glass coffin;
I heard I would live with joy
Even in this dim sorrow,
If I worked, studied, and loved.
And so I have lived in this untrustworthy world.
Now, what shall I do with this suffocating feeling
That is burgeoning in this scarcely visible sorrow?
Stupid I! Stupid I!

In The Glass Coffin by © Kim Myeong-sun, these translations are © Sean Jido Ahn

.
2016102000105_0Kim Myeong-sun was born in 1896 in Pyongyang, Korea. She debuted in 1917 when her short story A Girl in Doubt appeared in Youth [Chungchun]. In 1919, while she was studying abroad in Tokyo, she joined Korea’s first literary circle Creation [Changjo], which is reputed as the harbinger of modern Korean literary style. She published her first book of poems The Fruit of Life in 1925, which is also the first book of poems published by a Korean woman. Kim was known as quinti-lingual, and she introduced works of Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Baudelaire to Korean readers for the first time.

Along with a literary movement, Kim was also a central figure in feminism movement of her time. She argued that the world would achieve peace rather than war if women could play a major role in sociopolitics. Moreover, she openly supported free love, and her practice of free love subjected Kim to severe criticism. The fact she was a date rape victim and a daughter of a courtesan hardened the criticism, even among the writers who were close to her. After she fled to Tokyo in 1939, her mental health exacerbated due to extreme financial hardship, failed relationship, and ongoing criticism, and Kim spent rest of her life in Aoyama psychiatric hospital in Tokyo. While her year of death is known to be 1951, this date is not officially verified.

A note about the translator

Sean Jido Ahn is a literature student and a translator residing in Massachusetts, USA. His main focus is Korean to English translation, and he has translated a documentary, interviews, journal articles, and literary pieces. Currently, he runs a poetry translation blog AhnTranslation and plans to publish the first edition of a literary translation quarterly for Korean literature in fall 2017.

“Closet” by Lisa Lowther

Ivory Solid Wooden door –
Unbreakable
Shining gold handle
Protected by two
One on either side
Admittance – Speaks quietly
The other will decide
As you attempt to open
Not just anyone is welcome

White Backless gowns
On shining skin
Chiffon, Encrusted diamonds
Heels that can match any
Elegant Masquerade masks
Green eyes of foreign waters
Pearls, bright & round as the moon
Reflected
To only the celebrant

By Invitation – The other
Vintage lace
Some roses too
For Your entrance
Not an exit of mine, this time
Do close the door on leaving
The two shall rest awhile
A little like my own

Even I did not feel invited into this poem

Closet is © Lisa Lowther
.
Lisa Lowther lives in Cork City. She is a mother to one daughter. She has written poetry intermittently and increasingly over the years, previously not submitting any of her work. She has a passion for reciting poetry as well as reading. She holds a Business qualification & has previously worked in the University College of Cork for a number of years as well as other companies within the Business sector. She subsequently trained in sexual health and was involved in the promoting of sex education on various topics including sexuality awareness. This is Lisa’s first published work. She is presently dedicating time to her love of writing poetry and she is working on her first collection.

I. Am. Straight. Are You ? & other poems by Lisa Lowther

“Faoi Ghlas” by Doireann Ní Ghríofa

Faoi Ghlas 

Tá sí faoi ghlas ann          fós, sa teach          tréigthe, 
cé go bhfuil          aigéin idir í          agus an teach 
	a d’fhág sí          ina diaidh. 

I mbrat uaine          a cuid cniotála,          samhlaíonn sí 
	sraitheanna, ciseal glasa          péinte 
ag scamhadh ón mballa          sa teach inar chaith sí — 

	— inar chas sí          eochair, blianta
ó shin,          an teach atá          fós ag fanacht uirthi, 
	ag amharc          amach thar an bhfarraige mhór. 

Tá an eochair ar shlabhra          aici, crochta óna muineál 
	agus filleann sí          ann, scaití,          nuair 
a mhothaíonn sí          cloíte.          Lámh léi 

ar eochair an tslabhra, dúnann sí         a súile agus samhlaíonn 
	sí an teach úd          cois cladaigh, an dath céanna 
lena cuid olla cniotála, na ballaí          gorm-ghlas, 

teach          tógtha ón uisce,          teach tógtha       as uisce 
	agus an radharc          ann: 
citeal ag crónán,          gal scaipthe,          scaoilte 

ó fhuinneog an pharlúis, na toir          i mbladhm, 
	tinte ag scaipeadh          ar an aiteann 
agus éan ceoil a máthair ag portaireacht          ina chliabhán, 

ach cuireann na smaointe sin ceangal          ar a cliabhrach 
	agus filleann sí arís          ar a seomra néata, ar lá néata 
eile           sa teach 

altranais,          teanga na mbanaltraí dearmadta          aici, 
	seachas please agus please agus please, 
tá sí cinnte de          nach          dtuigeann siad          cumha

	ná tonnta ná glas. Timpeall a muiníl, 
ualach          an eochair          do doras a shamhlaíonn         sí 
faoi ghlas fós, ach          ní aontaíonn an eochair          sin 

leis an nglas níos mó     tá an chomhla dá hinsí     i ngan fhios di 
	an tinteán líonta          le brosna          préacháin 
fós, fáisceann sí an chniotáil          chuig a croí 

ansin baineann sí dá dealgáin          í, á roiseadh go mall arís, 
arís, na línte scaoilte          ina ceann          agus ina gceann 
	snáth roiste:          gorm-ghlas gorm-ghlas gorm-ghlas

gorm-ghlas gorm-ghlas gorm-ghlas          amhail cuilithíní 
	cois cladaigh      nó roiseanna farraige móire.     Sracann sí 
go dtí go bhfuil sí          féin          faoi 

ghlas         le snáth         á chlúdach         ó mhuineál go hucht. 
	Ansin,      ceanglaíonn sí      snaidhm úr, snaidhm      docht, 
ardaíonn sí na dealgáin          agus tosaíonn sí          arís.


                              ∇

	Under Lock and Green

She is locked there 	still, in the empty 	house, 	
despite 	   	 the ocean between her	and this house, 
	the one	she left 		behind her.

In the green sweep 	of her knitting	 she imagines
	layers, green layers			of paint
a wall peeling 		in the house where she spent –

– where she turned 		a key, years
	ago, before, 	the house that is 	still waiting for her
gazing 			over a vast ocean.

She wears the key on a chain 	that hangs at her throat
	and she returns 		there, sometimes, 	when 
she feels 	weak.		With one hand

over that chained key, she closes 	her eyes and daydreams
	that house 	by the beach, the same colour
as her wool, the walls 		blue-green, 

a house		from water, a house 	of water
	and the view 	there:
a fretting kettle, 	its steam loose, 		leaving

through the parlour window, where the furze is 		aflame,
	fires swelling 		through the gorse,
and her mother’s songbird chirping 		in its cage,

but thoughts like these bind 	her chest too tightly
so she lets go, and returns  	to this neat little room, this neat little day
another		in this home

this home for the elderly	where she forgot the nurses’ words years ago
	except please 	and please 		and please, and she’s certain
that they		understand neither cumha 		

	nor tonnta 	nor the glas		at her throat,
the weight of a key	   for a door 	she imagines	
	still locked, but 		the key won’t slot 

into her remembered lock the door has fallen from its hinges in her absence 
	the hearth fills			with the kindling of crows
still, she nestles her knitting 	in near her heart

then lifts it from the needles, 		unravels it slowly again,
again, the lines released		one		by one
	unravelled, the thread:		blue-green blue-green blue-green 

blue-green blue-green blue-green 		like little ripples 
	scribbling on the shore 		or immense ripping oceans. She tears
until 		she is		under

lock and green again, 	with wool 	covering her	neck and chest.
	Then, 	a breath, and then,		she ties	a new knot,
lifts the needles 			and begins 		again.
doireann-bwDoireann Ní Ghríofa is a bilingual writer working both in Irish and English. Among her awards are the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the Michael Hartnett Prize, and the Ireland Chair of Poetry bursary. She frequently participates in cross-disciplinary collaborations, fusing poetry with film, dance, music, and visual art. Doireann’s writing has appeared widely, including in The Irish Times, The Irish Examiner, The Stinging Fly, and Poetry, and has been translated into many languages, most recently to French, Greek, Dutch, Macedonian, Gujarati, and English. Recent or forthcoming commissions include work for The Poetry Society (UK), RTÉ Radio 1, Cork City Council & Libraries, The Arts Council/Crash Ensemble, and UCC. Her most recent book is Oighear (Coiscéim, 2017)

faoi-ghlas-le-doireann-ni-ghriofa-1

“Rajm” by Müesser Yeniay

Rajm

Outside is night
inside is separation

this must be the last day
of the world 
          -I think of him-

love ends (…)

the heart 
remains as a woman who was stoned to death
in the middle of reality

my heart is the biggest
stone that God threw 
at me

© Müesser Yeniay, translated into english by Müesser Yeniay

muesserMÜESSER YENİAY was born in İzmir, 1984; she graduated from Ege University, with a degree in English Language and Literature. She took her M.A on Turkish Literature at Bilkent University. She has won several prizes in Turkey including Yunus Emre (2006), Homeros Attila İlhan (2007), Ali Riza Ertan (2009), Enver Gökçe (2013) poetry prizes. She was also nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Muse Pie Press in USA. Her first book Darkness Also Falls Ground was published in 2009 and her second book I Founded My Home in the Mountains a collection of translation from world poetry. Her second poetry book I Drew the Sky Again was published in 2011. She has translated the poems of Persian poet Behruz Kia as Requiem to Tulips. She has translated the Selected Poems of Gerard Augustin together with Eray Canberk, Başak Aydınalp, Metin Cengiz (2011). She has also translated the Personal Anthology of Michel Cassir together with Eray Canberk and Metin Cengiz (2011). Lately, she has published a Contemporary Spanish Anthology with Metin Cengiz and Jaime B. Rosa. She also translated the poetry of Israeli poet Ronny Someck (2014) and Hungarian poet Attila F. Balazs (2015). She has published a book on modern Turkish Avant-garde poetry The Other Consciousness: Surrealism and The Second New (2013). Her latest poetry book Before Me There Were Deserts was published in 2014 in İstanbul. Her poems were published in Hungarian by AB-Art Press by the name A Rozsaszedes Szertartasa (2015).
Her poems have appeared in the following magazines abroad: Actualitatea Literară (Romania), The Voices Project, The Bakery, Sentinel Poetry, Yellow Medicine Review, Shot Glass Journal, Poesy, Shampoo, Los Angeles Review of Books, Apalachee Review (USA & England); Kritya, Shaikshik Dakhal (India); Casa Della Poesia, Libere Luci, I poeti di Europe in Versi e il lago di Como (Italy); Poeticanet, Poiein (Greece); Revue Ayna, Souffle, L’oiseau de feu du Garlaban (France); Al Doha (Qatar); Poethead (Ireland)Tema (Croatia); Dargah (Persia).
The Anthologies her poetry appeared: With Our Eyes Wide Open; Aspiring to Inspire, 2014 Women Writers Anthology; 2014 Poetry Anthology- Words of Fire and Ice (USA) Poesia Contemporanea de la Republica de Turquie (Spain); Voix Vives de Mediterranee en Mediterranee, Anthologie Sete 2013 ve Poetique Insurrection 2015 (France); One Yet Many- The Cadence of Diversity ve ayrıca Shaikshik Dakhal (India); Come Cerchi Sull’acqua (Italy).
Her poems have been translated into Vietnamese, Hungarian, Croatian, English, Persian, French, Serbian, Arabic, Hebrew, Italian, Greek, Hindi, Spanish and Romanian. Her book in Hungarian was published in 2015 by AB-Art Publishing by the name A Rozsaszedes Szertartasa She has participated in the poetry festivals like Sarajevo International Poetry Festival, September 2010 (Bosnia-Herzegovina); Nisan International Poetry Festival, May 2011 (Israel); Belgrad International Poetry Festival, September 2012 (Serbia); Voix Vives International Poetry Festival (Sete), July 2013 (France); Kritya International Poetry Festival, September 2013 (India), Galati/Antares International Poetry Festival, June 2014 (Romania), Medellin International Poetry Festival, July 2014 (Colombia); 2nd Asia Pacific Poetry Festival 2015 (Vietnam).
Müesser is the editor of the literature magazine Şiirden (of Poetry). She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Turkish literature at Bilkent University, Ankara, and is also a member of PEN and the Writers Syndicate of Turkey. 

Three Poems by Müesser Yeniay
An Index of Women Poets

“We did not choose the sea” by Philo Ikonya

philo 6.1.2014

When we found them washed ashore
they were barely alive but still breathing
We spoke for the voiceless they
said, many times, and now speak to us
and for us and with us share this breath

We shuddered at life’s turns and twists
when the madding crowd kicked them hard
They slave them again, they do, their voices
deadly drilling the stones so alone intone

downloadPhilo Ikonya is a writer, lecturer and human rights activist. She is the President of PEN Kenya. She taught semiotics at Tangaza College and Spanish at the United States International University in Nairobi. She graduated in Literature and Linguistics (The University of Nairobi) before reading philosophy in Spain and Italy. She worked as an editor for Oxford University Press (Eastern Africa). Born in Kenya, Philo speaks Kiswahili, Gikuyu, English, Spanish and some Norsk. She has a grasp of Italian and French. Philo is a mother of one. She is currently living in exile in Norway.

Her fiction includes two novels, Leading the Night and Kenya, will you marry me? She has published three poetry anthologies including: This Bread of Peace, (Lapwing) Belfast, Ireland, and Out of Prison- Love Songs translated into German (Aus dem Gefangnis Liebesgesange). Philo is a Pan-Africanist.

“The Infinite Body of Sensation”; Visual poetry by Salma Caller

Sound is a shell

Sound is a shell
An ear
Curves of sound
Vibrating and condensing air
Echoes in a curved space
An ocean in the shell of sound
infinitebody-02

Pearls

Things that stand in for other things

The Witches Pouches

Bags of velvet black
Nets entangling objects
Bones of birds
The insides of shells
Spells
Pearls
Things that stand in for other things
infinitebody-01-1

Nets entangling objects

Bones of birds
The insides of shells
infinitebody-05
infinitebody-04-1infinitebody-03

Black Lace

Turn this talk into a tale
A small dark textured cloth
Shadows with shades of velvet
Borders and edges tactile
Spaces glittering and ornate
An elaborate intertwining language
Of touching
A complex dance of bodies
Claustrophobic close
Obscure ornate organs
Lying in a dark net of black stuffs
Needles like obsidian beaks
Braiding sound into
A florid calligraphy of sensations
Rose Point
Point de Neige
Gros Point
Punto in aria

infinitebody-06

Lying in a dark net of black stuffs

Needles like obsidian beaks
Braiding sound into
A florid calligraphy of sensations
infinitebody-07

Rose

Rose coloured lips swirling around a dark spot
Tasting a baroque sound
Inspired by graffiti in Barcelona
On a corrugated shutter
Inside a temple
Incense in the darkness leads you
To the glint of the gold cloth
The curl of the baroque frame and deep blue gaze

A florid calligraphy of sensations

salmacallerSalma Ahmad Caller is an artist and a hybrid of cultures and faiths. She is drawn to hybrid and ornamental forms, and to how the body expresses itself in the mind to create an embodied ‘image’. UK based, she was born in Iraq to an Egyptian father and a British mother and grew up in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. With a background in art history and theory, medicine and pharmacology, and several years teaching cross-cultural ways of seeing via non-Western artefacts at Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, she now works as an independent artist and teacher.

Dowsing/ RABDOMANTICA – by Daniela Raimondi

Dowsing/ RABDOMANTICA & other poems is © Daniela Raimondi, the english translations are © Anamaría Crowe Serrano

DOWSING

 
Mother pregnant with rain.
Mother of virgin sounds,
with music in your marrow
and the chirping of a bird in your mouth.
Mother sewing and unsewing the waters and the tides
holding between your teeth the source of all rivers,
the alphabet that gushes on the tongues of poets
and leaves damp traces,
the imprint of a lamb wet from birth.
Mother of the dark-dark
Mother of the black-black night.
Moved by a primitive thirst,
the same need to flee from light
that pushes the hare deep into the scrub.
Touch me with your clear fingers
oil my lips with your blind love.
Like a heavenly valley where only light falls.
Your blue within another blue,
the intense azure breath of your sky.
 

RABDOMANTICA

 
Madre pregna di pioggia.
Madre di suoni vergini,
con un midollo di musica
e sulla bocca il gorgheggio di un uccello.
Madre che cuci e scuci le acque e le maree
che tieni stretta ai denti l’origine dei fiumi,
l’alfabeto che sgorga sulla lingua dei poeti
e lascia tracce umide,
l’impronta di un agnello bagnato dal suo parto.
Madre del buio-buio
Madre del nero-nero della notte.
Ti muove una sete primitiva,
la stessa fuga dalla luce
che spinge la lepre nel fitto della macchia.
Toccami con le tue dita chiare
ungimi le labbra di un amore cieco.
Come una conca celeste e senza ombra.
Blu dentro un altro blu,
azzurrissimo respiro del tuo cielo.
 

LOT’S WIFE

 
“But Lot’s wife
looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt.”
Genesis 19, 26
 
Tonight I’ve set my horses free.
I fed the blind dogs
then came through the mountains to find you.
I walked barefoot,
with flaming sunflowers in my arms.
 
I can no longer be what you wanted.
I’m just a body closed tight,
the sum of a thousand daily failures.
But how am I to survive the winter
or keep ignoring the brightness of your face.
Now I’m left with the absurd pride of losers:
stopping time with a hand gesture,
proudly challenging his fury at never bending me
to his will or ever reading my heart.
 
Death doesn’t bother me.
It’s just a subtle change in the air,
a breath that trembles over the earth
and disappears without the faintest sound.
Being deserted is what frightens me.
Your abandonment is what hurts the most
while your gaze burns
and turns me to salt.
 
Tell me:
did you hear me scream while my blood turned to stone?
Did you find enough rage in me to feed your heart?
How could my eyes meet yours and not tremble
how could I stare at the sky and not be destroyed.
And despite everything
I was still clinging to your hands
those horrible hands of yours, so big and empty.
 
There’ll be time now to forget.
A time without limits, like childhood.
And then I’ll remain still among the sheaves of wheat,
with this useless pride shining in my eyes,
with the ivy tightening round my wrists, and my hips.
 

LA MOGLIE DI LOT

 
“Ora la moglie di Lot
Guardò indietro e divenne una statua di sale.”
[Genesi 19, 26]
 
Stanotte ho liberato i miei cavalli.
Ho dato cibo ai cani ciechi
poi sono venuta fra i monti per cercarti.
Ho camminato scalza,
stringevo fra le braccia girasoli accesi.
 
Non so più essere come tu volevi.
Sono soltanto un corpo chiuso,
la somma di mille fallimenti quotidiani.
Ma come sopravvivere l’inverno
o ignorare ancora la luce del tuo volto.
Ora mi resta la fierezza assurda dei perdenti:
fermare il tempo con il gesto di una mano,
sfidare a testa alta la furia di chi non sa piegarmi
né ha mai saputo leggermi nel cuore.
 
La morte, sai, non mi spaventa.
Non è che un mutamento impercettibile nell’aria,
un respiro che trema sulla terra
ma poi si acquieta, senza il minimo rumore.
È l’abbandono che mi fa paura.
È il tuo abbandono quello che fa più male
mentre il tuo sguardo brucia
e mi trasforma in sale.
 
Dimmi:
sentisti le mie grida mentre il sangue si faceva pietra?
Trovasti in me la rabbia per nutrire il cuore?
Come incontrare i tuoi occhi e non tremare
come fissare il cielo e non esserne distrutta.
E nonostante tutto
ancora mi tendevo alle tue mani
quelle tue mani grandi, orrendamente vuote.
 
Ci sarà tempo adesso per dimenticare.
Un tempo senza limiti, come nell’infanzia.
E poi restare immobile fra le spighe di grano,
con questo orgoglio inutile a brillarmi dentro agli occhi,
con l’edera a stringere i miei polsi, ed i miei fianchi.
 

TRADESCANTIA VIRIDIS

 
The kitchen is a sanctuary in disarray.
There are relics of enamel in the sink,
copper lids hanging on the walls.
 
(Can you make poetry
talking about kitchen roll toppled on the table,
or wine stains that tarnish the edge?)
 
Take a piece of chalk
draw the perfect outline of a circle.
Belong to winter
and be its gift,
surrender to its white fringes.
 
She’s the type who forgets money and her keys,
who leaves things unresolved.
She believes in the watery sound of childhood.
Something inside her never learned to relax.
A piece of white chalk and she redraws the circle.
Removes the empty space she’s hiding
in her cage of bones.
 
She’s gone down to the street.
Buried six shadows in the field.
A voice called from the top of a crane,
from a vanilla sky without the flavour.
 
There was some greenery in the pots.
The voice called somewhere far away,
from a red box hanging in mid air.
Sometimes a voice is the simple formula
for a breath that tunes your lips,
warms your fingers.
Sometimes a voice draws perfect curves,
even on the slimmest of hips.
 

TRADESCANDIA VIRIDIS

 
La cucina è un santuario in disordine.
Ci sono reliquie di smalto nel lavello,
coperchi di rame appesi alle pareti.
 
(Si può fare poesia
parlando del rotolo di carta rovesciato sul tavolo,
o delle macchie di vino che macchiano il bordo?)
 
Prendere un gesso
tracciare il profilo perfetto di un cerchio.
Appartenere all’inverno
e dell’inverno essere dono,
concessi al suo margine bianco.
 
Lei è di quelle chi si scordano i soldi e le chiavi,
che lascia i quesiti irrisolti.
Crede nel suono infantile dell’acqua.
Dentro ha qualcosa che non sa riposare.
Un gesso bianco e ridisegna il cerchio.
Sconfigge lo spazio vuoto
che tiene nascosto in una gabbia d’ossa.
 
È scesa per strada.
Ha sepolto sei ombre nel campo.
Una voce chiamava da in cima a una gru,
da un cielo color di vaniglia ma senza il sapore.
 
C’era un poco di verde nei vasi.
La voce chiamava da un punto lontano,
da una scatola rossa appesa nel niente.
 
A volte una voce è la formula semplice
di un respiro che affina le labbra,
che ti scalda le dita.
A volte una voce disegna curve perfette,
persino sui fianchi più magri.
 

DECEMBER

 
Put the coloured baubles in the box.
And the little bells, the Christmas lights
in sheets of tissue paper.
Now look at the light on the lake:
swans cutting the silence,
leaving the imprint of evening on water.
 
There’s a hidden place in the darkness of flesh.
A space with no nerves that presses on the bones.
But it’s time to burn the old clothes,
to call the night standing still at your door
and then say – there it is, look.
(Your eyes like coins in the dark.)
 
I’ll choose an auspicious sky:
the curve of stars between Ursa Major
and the hill where the hares live.
It’ll be a simple gesture like
combing knots out of hair,
the slight act of untying a shoelace.
 
Remember that a woman’s patience
has the fragrance of whiteness.
It gathers pain and stores it in the dark,
in large water jars.
 

DICEMBRE

 
Metti le sfere colorate nella scatola.
E i campanelli, le luci di Natale
in fogli di carta velina.
Ora guarda la luce sul lago:
i cigni tagliare il silenzio,
lasciare sull’acqua il segno della sera.
 
C’è un posto nascosto nel buio della carne.
Uno spazio senza nervi che preme sulle ossa.
Ma è tempo di bruciare i vestiti vecchi,
chiamare la notte ferme sulla tua porta
e poi dirti – è là, guarda.
(I tuoi occhi come monete nel buio).
 
Sceglierò un cielo fortunato:
la curva di stelle tra l’Orsa Maggiore
e la collina delle lepri.
Sarà un gesto semplice come
lo snodare i capelli,
l’atto leggero di slacciarsi una scarpa.
 
Ricorda che la pazienza della donne
ha il profumo del bianco.
Raccoglie il dolore e lo conserva nel buio,
in grandi vasi d’acqua.
 
Dowsing/ RABDOMANTICA & other poems is © Daniela Raimondi, english translations are © Anamaría Crowe Serrano

daniela-che-legge-inannaDaniela Raimondi was born in Italy and since 1980 has lived in England where she obtained a Masters in Spanish and Latin American Studies from King’s College, University of London. She is the recipient of numerous prizes for poetry and prose. Her work has been published in literary journals both in Italy and abroad and she has also adjudicated in poetry competitions. In 2012, she was the Italian representative at the Poetry Tournament in Maribor, Slovenia, where she was awarded the Public Prize. Publications include seven poetry collections in Italian, one of which won the Mario Luzi prize. An anthology of her poems in English was published by Gradiva Publications (Stony Brook University, New York, 2013) with translations by Anamaría Crowe Serrano. Her first novel, L’ultimo canto d’amore, was one of the ten recipients of the Lo Scrittore prize. It came first at the San Domenichino national prize and has since been published by Gruppo Editoriale Mauri Spagnoli (2015).
 


 

momiAnamaría Crowe Serrano is an Irish poet and translator of Spanish and Italian to English. As well as having been anthologised and published widely in journals in Ireland and abroad, publications include onwords and upwords (Shearsman, 2016), one columbus leap (corrupt press, 2011), Femispheres (Shearsman, 2008), and Paso Doble (Empirìa, 2006), written with Italian poet Annamaria Ferramosca. She also wrote poems for the art catalogue Mirabile Dictu (blurb, 2011), with work by artist Jordi Forniés.

 A new collection, KALEIDOgraph, written with Greek poet Nina Karacosta, is forthcoming from corrupt press. In recent years, she has been involved in several collaborations with other poets, including the Upstart project in Dublin,  and Steven Fowler’s “Yes, But Are We Enemies?” project.

 

Further Reading

 

“Iago’s Curse” and other poems by Liza McAlister Williams

September Tenth, 2001

 
Outside the store, at the sidewalk sale,
the breeze lifts each dress again
as the shop girl tries to smoothen them:
musses the chic brown challis pleats,
ruffles the flamestitch voile
whose turquoise and chartreuse V’s
seem borrowed from another day.
Sun, when it shines on this scene,
is playful, peeping between
steely clouds whose sky business
does not admit playfulness.
The baking, lazy summer’s over –
the long summer when the towers
that are about to fall amidst us in ruins
have so far felt and withstood only
the earliest tremors of their collapse.
 

Serenade

(after Kevin Young)

Rain popping on the air conditioner
like hail on a tin roof

like a handful of pebbles against a window
like the pinging of a car engine cooling off –

you can make a story to explain
being alone again on a drenching night:

a hobo curled in the hay
of another anonymous barn

a virgin with cold feet
ignoring the signal to elope

a travelling salesman
out of gas in Barstow CA –

the story makes no difference
when the ending is the same. 

Hit and Run

 
A brown curled leaf that clings to the winter oak
long past its season’s close is a lingering sign
of the cycle’s natural end. But when she phoned,
her voice ragged with tears, and choked through sobs
the name of her young friend, the hand of panic
laid its icy finger on my neck.

This seasonless attack on order’s wrecked
the borders we’ve protected: it’s a force
unforeseen – death seeps between the seams
of the earth, its garden smell of mulch and mould,
one inconsistent note mixed with the old:
of twig and leaf in newly sundered green.

Déjà Vu

Something shifting low in my gut tonight,
an air bubble from the lentil soup,
made me suddenly think of you,
how we’d lie together curled in sleep
and, turning, you knocked your elbow
or knee peremptorily against the inside of me.

Now that I’ve known you for twenty years
I smile to think of your string-bean limbs
and your purposeful disposition even then,
the two recently married and trying
to get along in the tight quarters of my womb,
and you and I too, not yet having formally met.
 

Iago’s Curse

 

I mine own gain’d knowledge should profane,
If I would time expend with such a snipe
But for my sport and profit.
                                                                          Othello I iii lines 384-6

They met together after a long time
and, as from separate dreams, awoke
from their ideal worlds of Art and Rhyme
to see around them loss, decay and crime.

“There will always be another test,”
one thought, and nearly spoke,
as she lightly, secretly caressed
the absence of the aching, missing breast.

The other knew a different way to lose:
a child, in thrall to greed; broke;
drowning his qualms in power and booze,
hate, for ‘sport and profit,’ as his muse.

They heard, somewhere around them, out of sight,
the heavy sounds – from chestnut, and from oak,
from the great elms with their hopeless blight –
of limbs falling, falling in the night.

Iago’s Curse and other poems are © Liza McAlister Williams

DSC04180Liza McAlister Williams has taught writing and literature at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, for many years, finding that poetry is a bridge-builder to the artistic process of art and design students. She and her husband have raised two daughters amidst the pleasures and challenges of old-house-living and urban gardening. She writes creative non-fiction, poetry and children’s poems. Her work has appeared in a number of journals, including Measure, Blue Unicorn, New Hopkins Review, and Light, and she was a runner-up several years ago in the Howard Nemerov sonnet competition.

‘The Last Fire’ and other Poems by Helen Harrison

CROSSROADS

 
Nineteen forty-five was like that
Free-wheeling to the crossroads;
Fifteen miles later; her own birth-place;
Travelling was the best part, the wind at her back,
A greeting ahead. News from home….
 
Roaming the familiar lanes, sisters
Continuous chatter; away from the
Clatter of feeding hungry hens, pigs and
Cows. She could roam without children,
For a day: To pause for some rest.
 
A small slip of time away from the chores
That shaped her life. No sooner had the
Ceili begun, it was time for the door: among
Promises to write, feeling satisfied to have rested
Those tired limbs. She’d set off, her frame;
 
Feeling heavier, cycling up hills, the thrill
Of the annual visit finished; her spirit slightly
Diminished, yet younger. She’d relay through letters,
How when she got back to the crossroads….the
First thing she’d hear; to spoil her wonder
 
Were her pigs squealing with the hunger..
 

PASSING SUNSETS

 
Evening, and there is nothing
To tempt me indoors.
 
Warmed from a day spent in the sun;
I spin it on my fingertips,
Pass it, to my team-
Mates.
 
Scoring goals
Win rolls of respect. Talents
Swaying to the chants; that
Tribal-like victory dance.
 
Ball of mesmerising fire –
Football skills that inspire. Cool
Moves; dipping, diving,
Thriving, in the company,
 
Until friends slip away,
As they are called in –
One by one.
 
Alone, with a crimson sky;
The breath I take is sharp
Like loneliness,
 
As the night turns – flat.
 

MUM AND SPUDS

 
How are you managing for heating oil?
Do you know that Mrs Mullin died?
I hope you like onions with your stuffing?
You said in your text that you’re on nights next.
 
Heaped on offerings of food,
Hot pans make mood for flavour.
Television. Loud repeated soaps,
Water hissing on stove. Potato
Peelings blocking sink – no time to think;
 
Can I help? I question her red face,
No it’s alright – clean the windows instead –
but listen; wait until after you’re fed.
 
POTATOES
 
I can smell the sweet potato peel
Upon my skin – and I visualise walking
Amongst the summer rows.
 
I pick over the box of earthy potatoes.
When I pull one that is perfect
I turn it in my hand like a gold nugget –
Buried in my memory – a charm.
 
I peel back happiness from the soil,
Memories drop into a watery bowl;
The day we planted them – sowing
Love which had lain on the edges.
 
Uncertain, I nearly threw love out
With un-seeded tubers; to decay in hedges.
Instead I wrapped them and stored them
In a cold shed – for spring planting;
 
I can already see your face shining pride
At flowering drills; you stand with a wide-stance;
The posture of the accomplished soul – your eyes,
Stare lovingly at each planted offering.
 

THE VOYAGING VESSEL

 
Even as the tides subside
I glide the horizon like a black-
Backed gull.
Waves of awe unleash
A various world of
 
Words I find deep in the folds
Of a sail-weathered wind
Freedom
Like golden grain in my hand
Rolling the currents to fly
Against a limitless sky.
 
I harbour the salt and the scent
From bays of seafaring faces,
The sea of pearled possibilities
Where beneath the rim and the rhythm
Coral, shells and speckled fish
Water me with colour.
 

THE LAST FIRE

 
You gathered sticks
To bathe the night with fire,
You, in your element
Smiling watery eyes;
Happy sighs – as you bent.
The next day your soul gathered
Over your cold body
To be buried under sticks and clay….
 
These poems are © Helen Harrison

Helen-2[1]Helen Harrison was raised on the Wirral, seven miles from Liverpool, by Irish parents, and has lived most of her adult life in the border countryside of Co Monaghan, Ireland where she is married with a grown-up daughter.
 
During 2014 she was awarded a bursary from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to study poetry for a week at The Poets House, Donegal.
 
Her poems have been published in A New Ulster, North West Words and The Bray Journal.Her first collection of poetry The Last Fire was published during 2015 by Lapwing. Some of her poetry can be found at poetry4on.blogspot.com