Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Found in Translation

On Monday night at the celebration of Derbyshire's twinning relationship with Toyota City, I was lucky enough to have my poem 'Litton Mill' translated into Japanese in front of an international audience. I've only had one experience of seeing my work translated before (as part of Sheffield's City Books project) and certainly no experiences of the translation happening live! It was strange and wonderful to hear the words so differently and I was struck by how much longer the poem seemed in Japanese, which I was told was partly to do with grammatical structure, the need to explain references in context.

I wondered how the poem came across to a Japanese audience, whether the references to a very specific place in Derbyshire could ever 'translate' fully and whether the poem's sense had shifted along with its sound. I was particularly struck by the rhythm with which the translator read the Japanese version of 'Litton Mill', which definitely retained some of the rhythms of the original. It was a humbling and intriguing experience, especially knowing that I'd never have the capacity to translate a poem from a different language into English myself.

Thank you to everyone who made Monday night so enjoyable!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Twinning tales

Tonight, I'll be in Matlock at a ceremony celebrating the twinning relationship between Toyota City, Japan and Derbyshire, a partnership that dates back to 1998.

Toyota City is famous as an 'automobile city' and in 1989, Toyota opened a plant over here in this county, at Burnaston in Derby.

As part of tonight's event, I'll be reading a poem that's very local to this part of the world, Litton Mill. The piece is going to be translated into Japanese. I've no experience of translating other people's work or of having my own translated into other languages so the event will be particularly exciting, especially because Japanese is sometimes read from right to left instead of left to right....

Watch this space!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Meet your laureate! - Poetry in Chesterfield

Come and say hello - I usually
look a bit like this....
If you're wondering who the heck the new Derbyshire Poet Laureate is and you'd like to say hello, an easy way to do so is at Spire Writes poetry, held on the first Wednesday of the month upstairs at The White Swan in Chesterfield, from 7.45pm.

I started Spire Writes when I first moved back to Chesterfield as a way of bringing live literature to the famous town of the Crooked Spire and giving local writers a chance to perform alongside poets from further afield and more established names. Since we started, we've played host to writers like Brendan Cleary, Tony Walsh, Helen Ivory, Martin Figura, Liz Berry and Chesterfield's very own, very talented Matt McAteer.

Each night also features open mic slots where you can come and read your own work, whether you're a seasoned performer or you've never read your work in public before.

This Wednesday (6th November) we're featuring local writers Sally Goldsmith and Cora Greenhill. Sally was born in Oxfordshire but feels like a Sheffielder having lived in and around the city for nearly 35 years. Her pamphlet 'Singer' was a winner in the Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition judged by Michael Longley. Her first full collection, 'Are We There Yet?' Was published by Smith/Doorstop earlier this year.

Cora Greenhill's new collection, The Point of Waking (Oversteps Books) comes out in October, and this will be it's first outing! Cora has lived in Grindleford for over 25 years, and her poems reflects her life in Derbyshire as well as longterm working relationship with Crete. She has recently had work in The North, The Sheffield Anthology, The Best of Manchester Poets, The New Writer, MsLexia and other publications.

If you've got a poet in mind who you'd really love to see perform locally, please get in touch and let me know and I'll see what I can do!