Between Clay and Star is the first major poetry translation book I have read and much to my surprise, it was quite pleasurable to read. The title is taken from a line of Liliana Ursu ‘Harmonia Mundi’ which reads’At the border between Clay and Star…’
The variety in this book was amazing. We had a spectrum from Ethiopian poets such as Reesom Haile to Tamil poet Shash Trevett and Romanian poets Liliana Ursu.
I enjoyed the exposure to different types of poetry. In fact, reading these poems made me more aware of the importance of translation and how it is imperative in discovering less known voices. Or perhaps simply voices which are not accessible to the mainstream but prominent in their own rights and countries.
Here are some of my favorite lines in the book:
Hugo Claus in 1965-
Give them this day our daily napalm and later our canned food and later our prayers
Shash Trevett in Bitter Waters
O Motherland, look not to me for your warrior.
Reesom Haile in African Anthem-
A shower of colours
To catch her eye
A garment of light
Across the sky
Reesom Haile in Poverty
I have nothing
Taste it with me
If we share,
We can bear
The worst poverty
Ana Blandiana- Self Sufficiency
Always in the air, hanging-like a fruit from
Its tree, like an arrow from a bended bow,
Like words from its etymology.
These powerful imagery embedded with the topics of the poems made it really enjoyable. Overall, I’d give this book 3.5 out of 5 because it was a worthwhile read.
Thank you for reading!