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The Indecipherable Colours Of The End

By Manolis Pratikakis

Translated by Thom Nairn & D. Zervanou

Dionysia Press, ISBN 978 1-903171-23-7

Sent by Lucy Collard

Greetings from a Greece not of financial meltdown but astonishing poetry - searing poems of water and loss, colour and earth. ‘Yes, he wheezes. But his lungs are already harmoniums of the vast sea.’This psychiatrist poet tells of ‘the children I try to save/ in those dark, tired men’, of the drowned teacher ‘Dressed in the skin of the open /sea’. He ‘tried to turn and/heard the sobbing of metal’. There are stones, mirrors, desert, and ‘we laugh/ in the trees of our bodies’. His poems hurt – but we need them ‘to map this small sensation of the infinite’.
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For you, czarinas of my soul: poems, dramas and fairytales

By Alexander Pushkin

Translated by Oskar Frankfurt

Translation Press, Hardback 270pp ISBN10 0615346944

Sent by Melanie Mauthner

Read 'The Copper Rider' for Petrograd's fog, floods, 'half nightly lands' and the Neva's 'blue colored ice' ; 'The Gypsies,' 'Cleopatra' and 'The Fairy Tale about the Fisherman and the Little Fish' for wily women and 'The Prophet' for the image of the six-winged seraph who slices his chest, removes his trembling heart to replace it with flaming coal so that he can 'burn with sermons people's hearts.' Oskar Frankfurt's translations invite us to hear Pushkin's 'sacred songs' of fate, sorrow and doomed love and remind us how after his death in a duel, 'the poet's blood lives on.'
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Plague Lands and other poems

By Fawzi Karim

Translated by Anthony Howell (Editor) and Abbas Kadhim

Carcanet 2011, ISBN: 978 1 847770 63 9

Sent by Maureen Jivani

Fawzi Karim writes boldly and beautifully about the difficulties of living within the constraints of wartime Iraq and furthermore about the physical and metaphysical constraints of living beyond them. Alive with the sights, smells and sounds of Baghdad there are scenes of violence and destruction, corpses and ‘shackled bodies’: ‘Now I smell the roasting of a thigh,’, but we also find scenes of tenderness: encountering the poet as a small child, his head in his ‘mother’s deepest folds’ and as a young man in Bagdad’s taverns: ‘It’s in the glass, the city shimmers/ Like water, water and palms.’

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Oriel: Poems and Narratives

By Various Authors

Translated by Various Translators

Black Sandal 2009 978-0-9564360-0-9 £9.00

Sent by Tez Watson

I have to admit that I struggled with the translated poetry but maybe they just weren't to my taste. Some of the short story writing was really enjoyable and in particular those from Irish and Scottish pens - Alison Marr, Sheena Oliver and Fiona Campbell, I also loved "Diamond Geezer" by Marie Florence, but struggled with Karen Campbell's work tripping over the language. "Images In Smoke" by Menyhért Lakatos is still unread as it's a little longer than the others but looks interesting. Nice collection overall
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Selected Poems:Alejandra Pizarnik

By Alejandra Pizarnik

Translated by Cecilia Rossi

Waterloo Press, 2010, 978-1-906742-24-9

Sent by Rebekah Wilson

This collection comprises many short poems and some longer passages of poetic prose. I would say the main theme is death, but other themes include identity and love. Pizarnik uses repeated motifs from nature (such as birds, the wind, flowers, gardens), the material world (mirrors, clocks, walls), and abstract notions such as names, silence, words, absence, drunkenness and colours. There are some racier moments, e.g. in 'Psychopathology Ward'. I found the poems surreal and dark, so much so I didn’t want to get drawn in. I don’t read Spanish, but the translations read very well, with no superfluous words.
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Did You Hear About the Fighting Cat?

By Omar Perez

Translated by Kristin Dykstra

Shearsman, 2010, 978-1-84861-132-0

Sent by Annie Kerr

What a great title! There's a meditative thread running through this collection arising from Perez's Zen Buddhist practice. Many of the poems are very short - just two or three lines, provocative, thoughtful, humorous, some you just don't get the first time round. Haiku? Koan? I don't know enough about those forms to comment, except I like the spaces these poems seem to bring, the vivid observations, the slowing down, the breath in between. This collection is beautifully laid out. A pity there's no contents page as my copy is becoming dog-eared already from trying to find the one about the cat, the tiger or the dragonfly.
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Mari d'Ingid

By Paul Henry

Translated by Gerard Augustin

L'Harmattan, 2008

Sent by Jim Barron

Reading in French, an English poet pushed into a language that fights with the words, on a boat crossing the channel. A slow translation a return to English, returning to England. The shorter pieces stand better, shorter sentences that hold together and make easy visuals, smoother rhythms moving back from French to English. Foreign words, English spaces, English ideas I can still see in French words. I wonder if it seems as foreign to French readers as the ideas of Eluard to me?
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A Boat to Heaven

By Zhao Lihong

Translated by Xu Qin

Southword Editions, 64 pp, hardback, 2010, ISBN 978-1-905002-37-5,€14

Sent by Anna Reckin

Don’t be deceived by the pretty-kitsch po-mo chinoiserie of Boat to Heaven’s dust jacket; the poems are plangent, often stark, finding solace in the small movements of the natural world. At the end of ‘A Walk in the Forbidden City,’ a set of variations on curtains, rain, smoke, barriers, enclosure, ‘Those that have gone have finally left / All that remains on the ridge of walls / are the moss-green tiles /And the fresh smell of grass / . . . Little birds outside / Fly onto the walls / Little birds inside / Fly out . . .’Elegy – with an edge.

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