AHRC-funded | Poetry translation in poet-advisor-poet trios: collaborative, cross-language and creative processes
Opening up the theme of translation to broad interpretation, The Poettrio Experiment are commissioning collaborative translations from all creative disciplines: writers, translators, artists, musicians, filmmakers…
Translate a text into an image, an image into a text, an Instagram picture into a poem, a Tweet into a film, an object into a short story, a poem into a composition…
Translate between different languages or translate between Englishes: translate an ‘English’ poem or prose into your English voice filled with your experience, or Scouse, or Scots or a Diasporic English. You could change the location, the scenery, the slang, the voice but somehow… translate.
Translate from a language you don’t know: read it like code and carry its graphic patterns into a new translated text or medium…
DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: 1st July 2017
Performances of texts, films and compositions should last no longer than 5 minutes.
Public performance open to all in Newcastle University on
Thursday July 20th 2017
DISCUSS your translation process on a new podcast for translation & creative disciplines at the University of Newcastle.
Email queries to: email@example.com
If you want to participate but don’t have a collaborator, contact us and we will find you one!
The Poettrio Experiment is an AHRC-funded project researching translation trios based at Newcastle University, with The University of Roehampton.
Underflow was a performance by Scottish writer Clare Archibald, translator and writer Delaina Haslam, and Danish artist and writer Line Toftsø. Underflow is a tri lingual text & audio-visual exploration of the linguistic spaces left by the loss of babies. It looks at the tongue that cannot be universally translated.
The trio met on Twitter and conducted much of their work via direct messaging on Twitter. They had never met in person until the event on July 20th 2017, with the exception of Line, who was not in the UK. Find them on Twitter here: Clare @archieislander Delaina @delainahaslam Line @linetofts
WATCH the performance:
Click here to hear Traduccion De Mi Mente, Clare’s Spanish-English piece.
Ask me about my baby
‘It’s a bad time. It’s the funeral today.’
I don’t know if this woman – it’s a different one each time – knows of my circumstances. They’ve come every few days; they phone me when they discover I’m not in. But I’m not a new mother at home with my baby. I’ve been out visiting funeral directors and cemeteries.
‘Do you feel you’ve had enough opportunities to talk to about what happened?’
‘No, not really … Our friends … they were amazing, um, over the period … But now, I don’t think they know if we want to talk about it.’
‘They perhaps don’t want to upset you.’
‘You seem, if you don’t mind me saying, more upset this week. I wondered if that might happen. It’s perfectly natural, and normal, really … Last week, well … I was quite surprised to see you arrive on a bike, to be honest.’
‘So there’ve been two miscarriages, is that right?’
‘And an extremely premature birth …’
‘Ok, so how many children do you have now?’
‘None. He died.’
‘Oh that’s awful!’
[I thought you said you’d looked at my history.]
The woman from Transport for London is sitting across from me. I’ve given her a cup of tea. I should be working but I’m answering survey questions about how I get around the city.
‘Do you have any children?’
‘No.’ [He died.]
[Ask me more. I want you to ask me more.]
‘So just you and your partner live here?’
I long to tell strangers my story. But no more questions come.
Line Toftsø Nyholm
Explanation of collaboration
We collaborated solely by Twitter DM and email (none of us know each other or have spoken outside of online interaction). There were no real challenges and it was a pretty straightforward, very positive process.
Clare Archibald is a Scottish writer interested in the interplay of forms and the potential of collaboration. She has previously been chosen to read at Storyshop at Edinburgh International Book Festival, was longlisted in the 2016 Lifted Brow/RMIT international prize for experimental nonfiction and is currently completing her work of experimental narrative nonfiction The Absolution of Shyness.
Delaina Haslam is a translator and writer. She translates from French and Spanish to English in the field of sociology. Before going into translation she worked as a journalist and editor for publications in Madrid and London including le cool. She’s writing her first novel about the experience of a mother’s grief after the death of her baby in 2014.
Line Toftsø (born1969) Danish artist and writer. Published ‘Jeg bevæger kun øjnene’ (poetry) in 2015. First solo exhibition in 1992 in Copenhagen. Lives & works in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Poet Linda France and artist Matilda Bevan have been collaborating on translations of the National Trust site Allen Banks in Northumberland, arising out of Linda’s current PhD research on facets of Victorian women’s visibility in relation to the Northumbrian landscape.
Watch Linda and Matilda present their work:
Allen Banks : Linda France & Matilda Bevan
We have no centre. We are the centre
from which all earth radiates mirrors tucked
in our crevices the forgottenness of things.
We break open near, far crow bone
ash carapace of the soul. There
is nowhere to go. How should we ask
permission to enter our own home?
Made from mud lichen, dust
a woman’s touch housewifely we wipe
away begin again. From before
history happened our hands reach out.
Here we are a constant recurrence
strata mauve, ochre given to endure.
Explanation of process
Working collaboratively is an important part of Linda’s practice as a poet so when she started visiting Allen Banks as part of her PhD research, it seemed natural to invite a visual artist to the site and encourage the possibility of a response. Also particularly appropriate as one of the themes of her sequence-in-progress is multiplicity and solidarity, similarity and difference.
Matilda made a painting in gouache and graphite, working from her own photograph taken at Allen Banks, keen to capture a sense of the ‘rock face’, a symbolic portrait of Susan Davidson, the shadowy Victorian widow who designed many of Allen Banks’ landscape features – summerhouses, paths, steps, bridges, a tarn sheltered by trees. Matilda emailed a photograph of her image to Linda, who initially worked from a print of it to create a preparatory draft of a poem – more about the process than the image itself. On visiting Matilda’s studio and seeing the original, this became something else entirely, speaking more directly to the image, although informed by the earlier version. One constant was the way the form leant into the natural structure of the rock face and borrowed its sense of line and brokenness.
Sometime afterwards Linda and Matilda decided to continue the translation process by flipping it around and seeing what would happen if Matilda made a visual response to a section of text from Linda’s unfolding poem sequence. She chose a few lines from a longer piece and drew a self-portrait in graphite, overlaying it with rough strokes of white acrylic, giving a weathering and distancing effect.
The circle was completed – what wanted to be a face at the beginning found its rightful form in the mirror. A metaphor for the process of translation perhaps, involving reflection and symmetry, the fulcrum of clear seeing. The exchange was fluid and organic, rooted in a shared appreciation of a particular place. It also led somewhere new, following unexpected tracks of enquiry, altered perspectives.
Linda and Matilda have collaborated previously on a text and image ‘apple renga’ for Transition Tynedale/Northern Poetry Library (2015). The renga poem on the page was readable under a line drawing of a laden apple-bough, all framed by a boundary of apple names and contributor names. The Allen Banks work is part of an ongoing conversation.