From NARCOSES by Madara Gruntmane, translated by Mārta Ziemelis and Richard O’Brien

She loves so demandingly

wanting to prove she isn’t a mistake

on the map of the world

sticking her stories into the cracks

of the house’s fissured wall

She demonstrates so desperately

that she is good

She traces protective symbols on scarred faces

promising eternal success and immortality

She lets them climb on and climb off

Lets them sweep in and not clean up

She draws an orange on her breasts, hands over darts, and says:

Imagine it’s the sun

You’re not allowed to hit that bit

There won’t be anything to eat


By Madara Gruntmane

Translated by Mārta Ziemelis and Richard O’Brien

Madara Gruntmane is a poet and pianist. Born in Liepāja, Latvia, she works as a producer of cultural events. Gruntmane received the Annual Latvian Literature’s Reader’s Choice Award for her first poetry collection, Narkozes (2015). She is working on her second book of poems.

Mārta Ziemelis is a translator and poet, who was born in Germany and grew up there and in the Middle East. She translates from Latvian, French and Italian to English. Her poetry was first published in the literary journals UC Review and Garm Lu. Her first novel-length translation, The Water of Life by Daniel Marchildon, was published by Odyssey Books in July 2015.

Richard O’Brien is a Teaching Fellow in Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham. He writes poetry, plays and academic criticism, translates from French and Latvian, and has edited anthologies for the Emma Press, where he is currently a commissioning editor.

Photo of Madara Gruntmane by Pēteris Zālītis

Category: The Baltics RiveterTranslationsApril 2018 - Baltic Countries


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