Poetry Travels with Anna Blasiak and Lisa Kalloo: HARLEQUIN by Arjola Zadrima, translated by Vlora Konushevci

I am the wife of one who doesn't know me
doesn’t know that my dreams 
raise the souls of the dead.
I am the first and last mother of my son.

My daughter's palisade.
I was the lover of men who don't exist,
and don’t know how to cross a mountain in a breath.

To those who loved me I gave 
only a poem.
Bohemian, bound to the fates.
Frantic, omen of my own fate.
I was, I am and I will be
the one who kills herself,
not to become the harlequin of dramas
without an author.

I'm a shameless woman,
who has sown love's seed right in her belly.
I die and come alive
mother of my son.

Arjola Zadrima

Translated by Vlora Konushevci

Arjola Zadrima was born in Shkodra in 1979. She published her first volume of poetry, A ban me m’lshue pak rruge, in 2016; Carpe Diem is a 2018 collection of poetry and photography. She studied Language and Literature at Luigj Gurakuqi University. She works as a journalist at Radio Shkodra. She won many literary prizes, for example Penda e Kristalte Prize in Munich awarded by the International Institute for the Protection of Cultural Gege and Toske.

Vlora Konushevci was born in Kosovo. She completed her studies in English language and literature at the University of Prishtina, where she continued her master’s studies in linguistics. She published her first book of verse, Lavdi Vetes (2019), supported by Kosovo’s Ministry of Culture. She compiled and translated Poetry without borders, a bilingual anthology of Balkan poets (Albanian and Serbian); this project was supported by the UN mission in Kosovo. She is a fierce advocate of equality and has written numerous articles for national newspapers on this subject. She is the author of the lyrics of the song “Ajo asht ba,” which has launched the “16 days of activism” campaign against violence against women organized by UN agencies in Kosovo. Winner of many awards including the Poetry for Peace award organized by KultPlus and UN Women, Konushevci’s poems and translations have been published in many literary magazines and cultural portals in Kosovo and abroad. She is a part of the Alternative War anthology, published by B Cubed Press (2021, USA) and was also published in Songs of Eretz Poetry Review (2021, USA). In 2019 she established the online platform www.poetetshqiptare.com, where approximately 100 Albanian women poets are presented. In January 2022, she published a bilingual (Albanian and English) anthology of 30 Albanian women poets under the title Magma, a project supported by Kosovo’s Ministry of Culture.

Photo by Lisa Kalloo

Check out the Poetry Travels book list on bookshop.org.

Read previous poems in the Poetry Travels series:

SIRENS by Victoria Amelina, translated by Anatoly Kudryavitsky

JOB: A WOMAN by Dominika Lewicka-Klucznik, translated by Anna Blasiak

BAGS by Blerina Rogova Gaxha, translated by Vlora Konushevci

TONGUEFISH by Yolanda Castaño, translated by Keith Payne

WHAT DO YOU NEED by Friederike Mayröcker, translated by Christina Daub

A WORK OF BIOGRAPHY by Max Jacob, translated by Ian Seed

UNTITLED POEM by Ivano Fermini, translated by Ian Seed


LIGHT by Vasyl Makhno, translated by Olena Jennings

A MESSAGE FROM THE ISLE OF WIGHT by Wioletta Greg, translated by Maria Jastrzębska and Anna Blasiak

HOME by Nataša Sardžoska, translated by the Author

ONLY THE BEGINNING COUNTS (4) by Jan Baeke, translated by Antoinette Fawcett

*** (RABID WINDS) by Gerður Kristný, translated by Rory McTurk

ANSWER TO THE PRAYERS by Vainius Bakas, translated by Kerry Shawn Keys

AGGRESSOR’S MONOLOGUE by Artūras Valionis, translated by Jura Avizienis

THAT’S ALL by Jurgita Jasponytė, translated by Jura Avizienis

UNTITLED by Linas Umbrasas, translated by Audra Skukauskaitė

FIRST SPRING OF THE WAR by Vytautas Kaziela, translated by Jura Avizienis

A LETTER TO A CHILD by Lina Buidavičiutė, translated by Ada Valaitis

UNTITLED by Aneta Kamińska, translated by Anna Blasiak

TWO LYRICS OF LOVE AND MEMORY by Lina Kostenko, translated by Stephen Komarnyckyj

CROW STUDY by Yuri Andrukhovych, translated by John Hennessy and Ostap Kin

UNTITLED POEM by Serhiy Zhadan, translated by John Hennessy and Ostap Kin

UNTITLED POEM by Ludmila Khersonsky, translated by Maya Chhabra

UNTITLED POEM by Iryna Vikyrchak

From THE ANDROMEDA NEBULA by Anna Gréki, translated by Souheila Haïmiche and Cristina Viti

TEAPOT by Nurduran Duman, translated by Andrew Wessels

IT’S COMING AGAIN by Michael Strunge, translated by Paul Russell Garrett

REPORT FROM ANOTHER CITY by Marcin Niewirowicz, translated by the Author

INTERIOR by Ana Blandiana, translated by Paul Scott Derrick and Viorica Patea

THIS IS LOVE by Joanna Fligiel, translated by Anna Blasiak

REVELATION IN H&M by Menno Wigman, translated by David Colmer

*** (I WANT TO FOLD THIS DAY) by Inga Pizāne, translated by Jayde Will

THE SIEGE by Marcin Świetlicki, translated by Elżbieta Wójcik-Leese

FISH by Jana Putrle Srdić, translated by Barbara Jurša

THE WELL by Maarja Pärtna, translated by Jayde Will

THE SHADOW by Pentti Saarikoski, translated by Emily Jeremiah and Fleur Jeremiah

A FAREWELL TO MY DEAD CLASS by Irit Amiel, translated by Anna Blasiak and Marta Dziurosz

THE GIRLS IN BERGEN-BELSEN by Nora Gomringer, translated by Annie Rutherford

DECEMBER, by Jaume Subirana, translated by Christopher Whyte

ROSE RED, by Ulrike Almut Sandig, translated by Karen Leeder

*** (I D[R]IPPED MY PEN…) by Mario Martín Gijón, translated by Terence Dooley

WHAT COMES by Magda Cârneci, translated by Adam J. Sorkin and Mădălina Bănucu

TRANSLATION by Justyna Bargielska, translated by Maria Jastrzębska

*** (MY EYES, DENSE NIGHT…) by Gëzim Hajdari, translated by Ian Seed

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