On Listening


poetryinternationallisteningSo. I joined this project late in the day, but I went to the final gala reading and wanted to respond to the idea of listening to poems in translation.

As English speakers we’re rarely alienated by pop songs or television shows because we happen to have a language in common with the global super power. Where french was once the language of diplomacy – elegant, complex, latinate – English has made its come-back through clarity and simplicity; it’s the language of the web (ever tried coding in Greek..?) and it’s the language of the future.

But I still feel guilty when I meet people who have mastered five or six languages, or who have the determination to come to this country and get by on their poor conjugations and confused pronouns. At least they’ve experienced the ghost of another language and it’s impressed itself upon them. But in England, even London, however submerged I am in the dozens of languages I hear thanks to immigration, I am never expected to engage and people automatically speak English, even if I want to try out my pidgin french.

So the above is a response to many things. Each image illustrates something I notice about the act of listening to and appreciating a work in translation. I was going to add words, but I think it will be more fun to see how people interpret this for themselves…


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One Response to “On Listening”

  1. permanenttourist Says:

    I love this!

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