The poet on the politics of the gaze, the migratory act of reading, the anxiety of bilingualism, and the universality of shame.
Two poets reflect on colonialism, iconoclastic writers, and the political dimensions of translating literature under authoritarianism.
I must work, I must eat, I must art, I must mother, I must friend, I must listen, I must observe, constantly I must live.
“A weight carried by two, weighs only half as much.”
Adorno wrote that there could be no lyric poetry after Auschwitz; Duchamp made art an afterword.
dialogue was something like this:
how long will you away and acting so odd and
my father lights the kerosene lamp, his beard bitten, hands
wet from the river, where he kneels to pray in the mornings,
Translation, like any public act, must be strategic to have any effect.
After September 11, I kept thinking that the United States wouldn’t invade Afghanistan. I was so wrong about that.
This First Proof contains the poem “Nosotros Necesitamos Zapatos Para Zapatistas.”
Survived the war but
was having trouble
“Draw me a lion.”
So I set my pen
Poem by Lakdasa Wikkramasinha—for the Sri Lankan Poetry portfolio.
Calcutta is a dead weight on my heart: / I must destroy her before I go.
Before bird whistles break the pre-dawn silence,