MSt tutor Helen Mort explores voices from around the world for BBC Radio 4

MSt tutor Helen Mort presents BBC Radio 4’s “Bodies in Motion” series. From the Radio 4 announcement:

The first edition of a new globe-trotting poetry series. Poet Helen Mort explores exciting voices from around the world. This week, she hears poetry in Arabic, German and Spanish while thinking about the phrase ‘Bodies in Motion’: seeing how movement, through space and time, filters through the work of some very different poets.

Helen Mort travels to Paris to meet Syrian poet Golan Haji. He’s drawn inspiration from many sources, including Bill Viola’s video art and a pet ram. Being multilingual, for him, every piece of writing is an act of translation. They meet up with veteran American poet and translator Marilyn Hacker, to hear her version of a Haji poem and talk about the friendship struck up through this translation partnership.

A journey to the centre of the Earth; watching the Berlin Wall fall on a badly tuned TV; and a futuristic German language, have all inspired poems by the compelling German poet and performer, Ulrike Almut Sandig. She tells Helen Mort about her early political ‘guerrilla poetry’ project, ‘eyemail’, which found her pasting poems onto lampposts, and its live performance equivalent, which she calls, ‘earmail’.

Exploring the fascinating process of translating a poem into another language, Helen Mort takes part in a poetry translation workshop at the Poetry Translation Centre in London. In this case, the original Spanish language poem is by Cuban poet Legna Rodriguez, about her experience of moving from Cuba to Miami. Progressing from the line-by-line literal translation towards a version made collectively, involves discussions on cliché and idioms – and on nuances of the noun ‘sofa bed’!

You can listen to the series on the radio or online.