Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Susan Birkeland

Today it is sure Susan Birkeland's poetry will be included in the 2nd European Festival of Poetry. Her sister Deborah, kindly granted us permission. A first poem and its translations.


City Of Love

Sing to me from budding trees
Carry on and carry less
O My City

O My Lover
A hometown that needs no defenses?
Love without envy?
An easy life?
A happy death?
Know these blue skies and clean water
for every thirsty foreign child
friends of friends I've never met
smiling fat girls and
uncles in freedom's lucky trance.
Mercy stands by the road
drawing circles in the dry red earth
with the corner of his soft boot.
My father is an optimist.
My mother, slow and old and practical.
What holds us together.
City of Love
The Return of Mercy
Some day.
Some say.
Some do say.

©Susan Birkeland
Fom Susan Birkeland's new chapbook of poetry and drawings titled "The Bruised Angel Almanac"
Stadt von Liebe

Sing zu mir aus Blüten sprießend Bäumen
Mach weiter und weniger kümmern
Oh du meine Stadt
Oh meine Liebe
Eine Heimat, die keine Verteidigung braucht?
Liebe ohne Neidgefühl?
Ein leichtes Leben?
Ein glücklicher Tod?
Kenne diesen blauen Himmel und klar Wasser
für jedes durstig’ fremdes Kind
Freunde von Freunden ich habe nie getroffen
lächelnde dicke Mädchen und
Onkel in der Freiheit glücklicher Trance.
Der Gnadenmann steht an der Straße
zeichnet Kreise in die trocken rote Erde
mit der Ecke seines leichten Stiefels.
Mein Vater ist ein Optimist.
Meine Mutter, langsam und alt und praktisch.
Was uns zusammenhält.
Stadt von Liebe
Die Rückkehr vom Gnadenmann
Eines Tages.
Sagen manche.
Einige sagen das.

Translation: Fred Schywek
Stad van Liefde

Zing tot me uit bottende bomen
Draaf door en draaf minder        
Oh Mijn Stad
Oh Mijn Geliefde
Een thuishaven die geen verdediging behoefd?    
Liefde zonder afgunst?
Een gemakkelijk leven?
Een gelukkige dood?
Ken deze blauwe luchten en schoon water
Voor elk dorstig vreemd kind
Vrienden van vrienden die ik ooit ontmoette
Glimlachende dikke meisjes en
Ooms in de gelukkige trance van vrijheid.
De man van mededogen staat langs de weg
tekent cirkels in de droge rode aarde
met de hoek van zijn zachte laars.
Mijn vader is een optimist.
Mijn moeder, traag en oud en praktisch.
Wat ons samen houdt.
Stad van Liefde
De terugkeer van de man van mededogen
Zo zegt iemand.
Iemand zegt ooit.

Translation: Annmarie Sauer


Monday, May 2, 2011

2nd European Festival of Poetry, 2011

Note the 17th of September in your diaries: That is the day you can come to the Permeke library in Antwerp to enjoy the poets, performers, musicians and singers. The program is coming together nicely. The performances are finding their level, how to show and let hear what we want to communicate. Poets from five countries will be present. Some poets you might have met and heard last year and that would be an occasion to get reacquainted with them and some are first timers and not of the least.  We'll be honoring a few Grandes Dames of poetry who turn 70 and 75 this year. 7 of the poets come from outside of Belgium: 3 from The Netherlands, 2 from Germany, 1 from France and one from the US. Although work of more than one American poet will be read  and performed.
So note the date: September 17, 8 PM.

As an appetizer a short poem by Sherman Alexie from one of the main features of the festival:The sounds of harbour, the upcoming third volume in this series: Harbors of the West.

Migration, 1902

The salmon swim
so thick in this river

that Grandmother walks
across the water

on the bridge
of their spines.


Migratie, 1902

De zalm zwemt zo
dicht op elkaar in deze rivier

dat Grootmoeder over
het water loopt

op de brug
van hun rug.

With permission of Hanging Loose Press