Poetry Travels with Anna Blasiak and Lisa Kalloo: THE WELL by Maarja Pärtna, translated by Jayde Will

the shape I take
in an ever-warming future
does not depend on things at hand.
faced with a wall I fit

windows that open into windowless rooms
steps that finish at the beginning of steps –
everything in sight falls easily
into the onlooker's eye.

at the bottom of the eye is a well
down the well is a city
in the centre of that city

at the well's edge
I lean over and fall
into selflessness, saying

the name you give me
will show first and foremost
who you really want to be.

By Maarja Pärtna

Translated by Jayde Will

by Maarja Pärtna
Translated from the Estonian by Jayde Will
Published by The Emma Press (2020)

Maarja Pärtna is an Estonian poet, editor and translator with four poetry collections: At the Grassroots (2010), which was shortlisted for the Betti Alver Debut Award, Thresholds and Pillars (2013), [becoming] (2015) and Vivarium (2019). She has won the Juhan Liiv Poetry Award and is the co-founder of the poetry press Elusamus. Her poems, which have been translated into eight languages, weave connections between the human and non-human worlds and address issues of identity and belonging.

Jayde Will is a writer and translator from numerous languages. He has an MA in Finno-Ugric Linguistics from Tartu University, and more than twenty full-length translations to his credit. Recent translations include Latvian poet Artis Ostups’s poetry collection Gestures (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2018), Lithuanian writer Ričardas Gavelis’s novel Memoirs of a Life Cut Short (Vagabond Voices, 2018), and Latvian writer Alberts Bels’s novel Insomnia (Parthian Books, 2020). His own writing can be found at Words Without Borders, In Other Words, satori.lv, Kultūrzīmes, Ubi Sunt, and Lituanus.

Photo by Lisa Kalloo

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

Read previous poems from Poetry Travels:

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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