London’s National Poetry Librarian Chris McCabe found Home on the Move to be ‘one of the most inventive and necessary poetry projects of recent years’, and it would be hard not to concur. This delightful object is small enough to carry in your pocket, and the metaphor is not lost; the invitation being to pick up this slim anthology and take it with you, every page offering a surprise in the successive transformations of text through the media of tongue or stills. The edgy connectedness in its look, feel, texture and content belies the theme of migration that necessarily runs through any multilingual artefact, as tenuous or life-affirming as the guy rope floating across the cover image by Domingo Martínez Rosario.
Yet the migrants here are not the authors of the poems, but the poems themselves, taking the reader on a journey from home to home across Europe and between sensory intimations of place and time: ‘Wie ein halberinnertes Lied’ (‘Like a half-remembered song’), reads a verse from ‘Da/heim Heim – Heimat’, a multilingual echo chamber around which verses translated by Ricarda Vidal spiral back and forth from English to French, out of German, into Spanish. At times the reader will be unsure of the source text or language – the translator in me wanted to know the sequence for each version. I hadn’t checked the overview until after I’d dipped into the book, but as I read on I realised the sense of disorientation I experienced was fundamental to the spirit of this work, more akin to wandering a labyrinth than following a linear chain from source to target to source to target…
Complete with web links to extraordinary artist films – extraordinary in their capacity to evoke the poems to which they respond – this ‘search for home’ (Chez-nous, En casa, A casa, Dom, Cartref, Zuhause) is both comforting and unsettling as our memories of home often are: ‘Comme ils nous interpellent, ces lieux perdus’ (‘How they call to us, the lost places), reads Elise Aru’s translation of this line from Deryn Rees-Jones’ ‘Home’, the starting point for the poem’s Western European journey. ‘Como nos cuestionan estos lugares perdidos’ echoes Silvia Terrón’s translation. The section entitled ‘DOM: An Eastern European Journey’ begins with Rafał Gawin’s ‘Dom. Konstrukcja W procesie sadowym’, its title translated as ‘Home. Structure on Trial’ by Anna Błasiak: ‘Home is a table filled/with food like a stone thrown in good faith.’ ‘Dom to stół zastawiony/daniami, jak kamień rzucony w dobrej wierze’, answers Marta Dziurosz in a back-translation towards the initial Polish provocation.
Some thirty-two poets, translators and artists contributed to this ‘half-open window’, which continues with a ‘Visual Journey’, then ‘Multiple Journeys’ in a celebration of différence et répétition, ‘repeating’ or re-versioning the same two poems in translation over and over in different words, languages, sounds or images, from English or Polish into Catalan or Kurdish, or from Romanian into a video poem. The credits alone for this anthology come to half the word count of its review, witness to the variegated nature of our collective roots. Leafing through Home on the Move’s tenderly crafted verses and images is a poignant reminder of how borderless a journey can be across the sea and landmass many of us had come to think of as our European home.
Poems translated by:
Margaret Adkins (Catalan to English), Teodor Ajder (Polish to Romanian), Muhamad Tawfiq Ali (English to Kurdish (Sorani)), Elise Aru (English to French; English to Mixed Media Artwork), Kathryn Bevis (Video Poem to English), Anna Błasiak (Polish to English; Video Poem to English), Heather Connelly & Belén Cerezo (Spanish to Video Poem), Jim Dening (Catalan to English), Noèlia Díaz Vicedo (Spanish to English; Spanish to Catalan; Video Poem to English), Marta Dziurosz (English to Polish), Oliver Golding (Video Poem to English), Zuzanna Janin (Polish to Video Poem), Jozefina Komporaly (Romanian to English), Joanna Kosmalska (English to Polish), Benoît Laffiché (French to Video Poem), Domingo Martínez Rosario (French to Video Poem), Timothy Mathews (French to English), Kate McMillan (English to Video Poem), Manuela Perteghella (Literary and Video Poems to Italian and English), Ghenadie Popescu (Romanian to Video Poem), Jacqui Rowe (Catalan to English), Silvia Terrón (French to Spanish), Ricarda Vidal (Literary and Video Poems to German with English, French and Spanish), Sally Waterman (English to Video Poem), Gerwyn Williams (English to Welsh)
Group translation: Juan Fernando Duque Lopera, Ingrid Estefania Fuentes Robles, Martina Njezic, Wei Ying (Video Poem to English and mother tongues).
Reviewed by Madeleine Campbell
HOME ON THE MOVE: TWO POEMS GO ON A JOURNEY
Edited by Manuela Perteghella and Ricarda Vidal
Poems written by Deryn Rees-Jones (English) and Rafał Gawin (Polish)
Published by Parthian Books (2019)
Born in Toronto, Madeleine Campbell is a freelance researcher, intersemiotic and literary translator who teaches at Edinburgh University. She is interested in surrealism and francophone literature and writes ekphrastic and found poetry. Her translations of Maghrebi poets have been published in the University of California Book of North African Literature (2012) and MPT Magazine (2016). Her English translations of bilingual French/Occitan poet Aurélia Lassaque appeared on the Poetry International site (Rotterdam 2018), in Poems from the Edge of Extinction (2019) and Pratik (XVI/3, 2019).