I’ve written before about my hesitation to read translated poetry. Out of all the written mediums, poetry relies on the structure, cadence, and rhythms of the language the most. Its very artistry is in how it uses and manipulates language, and as such, every word and grammatical point has been carefully chosen for a reason. All of which is incredibly hard to translate.
That’s why this poem by Laila Neihoum caught my eye. It was originally written in Arabic, but the translation into English was done by both Mohamed Hassan and Neihoum herself. Meaning the original poet could help shape the translation and ensure her words are coming through as intended. And it definitely shows in this poem. It’s searing, emotionally raw poem, and beautiful. And I love that I don’t have to wonder about the quality of the translation.
One last note. Laila Neihoum is apparently very, very offline, because I wasn’t able to find a photo of her or her work. So as she is Libyan, I went with the Libyan flag for the image above. In case you were wondering how that fit into things.
Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!