Asha Lul Mohamud Yusuf & Nikola Madzirov on Radio 4

Asha Lul Mohamud Yusuf & Nikola Madzirov on Radio 4

Mother Tongue: Close Encounters, BBC Radio 4, Sunday 6 August 2017, 4.30pm, repeated Saturday 12 August, 11.30pm

The fourth episode of this new globe-trotting poetry series presented by poet Helen Mort included an interview with Somali poet Asha Lul Mohamud Yusuf and her translator Clare PollardThe Sea Migrations (Somali title: Tahriib), Asha’s first full-length book of poems, is published by Bloodaxe Books with The Poetry Translation Centre in November 2017. 

‘Seeing Asha and Clare together, I can see how generous and thoughtful the translation process has been, and how this close encounter between two writers and their poems has led to a literary friendship.’ – Helen Mort

Asha read the opening of her long poem The Sea-Migrations in Somali, and Clare read it in English.  They also read the poem ‘Taste’.  Asha has lived in Britain for over 20 years, but only started writing poetry about 10 years ago.   Asha and Clare will be reading together at Manchester LIterature Festival on 7 October.

The episode also included the poem ‘Crossing the Sky’ from Bloodaxe’s book of newly-discovered poems by the Chilean Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda: Then Come Back: The Lost Neruda Poems. It was read in both Spanish and in Forrest Gander’s English translation by Alejandro de Mesa.  The book is published by Bloodaxe in the UK and by Copper Canyon in the US.

 ‘Asha Lul Mohamud Yusuf is fast emerging as one of the most outstanding Somali-language poets writing today. Her bold and striking poems are translated by British poet Clare Pollard. They join Helen to talk about the place of poetry in Somali culture and their translation partnership, which came about through the Poetry Translation Centre. With poems from her collection The Sea-Migrations.

We also hear a lost poem from the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. It's one of a small number of previously unpublished poems recently discovered among his papers and published in the collection Then Come Back.’

The programme is available until 12 September 2017. Interview with Asha Lul Mohamud Yusuf & her translator Clare Pollard is the 1st item, Neruda poem at 20.30.  Click here to listen.


Mother Tongue: Tracks of Time, BBC Radio 4, Sunday 30 July 2017, 4.30pm

In this third programme in a new globe-trotting poetry series, poet Helen Mort travelled to Berlin to meet Macedonian poet Nikola Madzirov, who is coming to the end of a year-long residency there.  They discussed his poetry and the process of translation.

Helen read the translation of his poem ‘Revealing’, part of which he read in Macedonian, and they spoke about the poem. Nikola read the English translation of his poem ‘Shadows Pass Us By’, and then Helen read the English version of ‘Many Things Happened’.  All the poems are in Nikola Madzirov’s 2013 Bloodaxe collection Remnants of Another Age.

‘Nikola’s way of seeing the world is precise and delicate’.  – Helen Mort, speaking on Mother Tongue, BBC Radio 4

‘Helen travels to Berlin to meet the Macedonian poet Nikola Madzirov. Described as one of most powerful voices in contemporary European poetry, he writes with great lyrical depth, insight and originality. In his collection 'Remnants of Another Age', he reflects on the history of his Balkan homeland and on ideas of shelter and nomadism with a restless, timeless intelligence.’

Available until 29 August 2017: Interview with Madzirov is the 1st item.  Click here to listen.

[15 August 2017]

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