Bridge to Global Literature

Let’s all remember that more and more poetry gets lost without earnest attempts at translation.Read poetry here to get a glimpse of the rhythms and resonances of languages you don’t know.

Preparatory & Other Poems— Robert Șerban

Oct 2, 2023 | Poetry | 0 comments

TRANSLATED FROM THE ROMANIAN BY LIDIA VIANU AND ANNE STEWART

Romanian poems

Image Used For Representation

 

Preparatory

I pluck words
out of the poem
as stubbornly as
my grandfather used his axe
to shave slivers of wood
from a pole
till he sharpened it so well
that with only one blow
he could thrust it
between the wild boar’s ribs
into the wolf ’s
or the polecat’s belly

I cut whole lines
out of my poem
and then
word
after
word
after word
I sharpen
it
just like a pencil


Weather forecast

after the end
of a love affair
like an umbrella
life closes
till the next
rain


Your Place

God stretches out his hand
Incessantly

from where you are
you cannot be sure
whether he does that to ask
or to offer


A Bridge

I run away from big words
like a hamster’s soul escaping
running between the legs of a bed
in which a hungry baby unexpectedly
awakes

small words won’t grow
which is probably why I love them
and entice them
yet do not mind their refusal to come to me

actually
when the sheet of paper is in front of me
I expect nothing
just as all I expect
from a bridge
is to take me to the other side
or to collapse


Litany

Great God
how grateful I am that you are always
up there
so that I can cling
to You
from time to time


Also, read The Departed Wishes by Chandra Kishore Jayaswal, translated from the Hindi by Ayushee Arora, and published in The Antonym:

The Departed Wishes— Chandra Kishore Jayaswal


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Robert Șerban

Robert Șerban

Robert Șerban (1970, Romania) is a writer, journalist and president of the International Festival of Literature at Timișoara (FILTM). Poetry collections: Of course I’m exaggerating (1994, Romanian Writers Union Prize for Debut), Odyssex (1996), Timişoara in Three Friends (coauthor, 2003), Home Cinema (2006), The para-fine death (2010), Below the line (2015), Hiding in Transparency (with Pavel Veres – digital art), Grandma’s Four Wings (2018), Camouflage Techniques (2018), The rainbow poem (2021) and what’s left of life (2022). Other publications: Pepper on tongue (interviews, 1999), The Pink Book of Communism (coauthor, memoirs, 2004), The Fifth Wheel (interviews, 2004), and Feathertales/Annusdazumal (prose, 2005). His poems have been translated into Polish, Serbian, Hungarian, Czech, English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Yiddish, Norwegian, Swedish, Arabic, Ukrainian, Macedonian, Hebrew, Turkish, notably, and published in numerous anthologies and literary publications in Romania and abroad.

 

Lidia Vanu and Anne Stewart

Lidia Vianu Anne Stewart

Lidia Vianu is a Romanian academic, writer, and translator. She is a professor in the English department of the University of Bucharest, a writer of fiction and poetry, and a translator both from English into Romanian, and from Romanian into English.

Anne Stewart is the founder of www.poetrypf.co.uk, which showcases many of the best poets writing today. She is also the Administrator for the Second Light Network. She won the Bridport Prize in 2008, and her poetry has been translated into German, Italian and Romanian.

 

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