I'm in Translation!

In 2012, Aussie poet, academic and publisher Kit Kelen invited a number of Australian and New Zealand poets to send him one poem, with notes which could give any translator an understanding, not only of the text but such things as the feelings, nuances, and cultural background – those things which are often ‘lost in translation.’ 142 poems with notes were published in a volume called Notes for the Translators. I was thrilled to be included.

Now a selection of these has appeared in a new book: Close Encounters of the Poetic Kind, where 23 of the original 142, with their notes, are presented in the English, as well as in Bosnian and Turkish. It was launched, on May 8 this year, at the University of Sarajevo. 

Again, I’m honoured to have been selected – from among so many brilliant, distinguished Aussie and NZ poets whose work I know and admire. 

I don’t have details of how the editors (who are also the translators) made their selections, but perhaps it can be inferred from what they say in their Foreword:

‘We hope … that you will find out something new about Australia and New Zealand. Or, at least, that you will confirm the fact that we humans are more or less the same, with similar life problems and joys, regardless of where and when we are living. That’s why we want this poetry to enter your home.’

(My piece was about a quilt I crocheted, and simultaneously about the breakdown of a marriage.)

Raising My Profile:Public Performances

I'm an old duck now, and don't get out and about as much as I once did. But if I want to sell my books, I have to let people know that I, and they, exist.

I entered the poetry Super Slam put in by Poets Out Loud in Murwillumbah as part of the latest 'Murwillumbah Arts Trail' event, a biennial exploration of artistic activities here. I didn't win the slam, and didn't expect to; I know what it takes to win these things. I was there as a profile-raising exercise – but I enjoyed myself, and enjoyed hearing the other poets too. I did my Godzilla poem (also shared earlier on TikTok) and it was welcome light relief, exactly as I intended. Afterwards a number of people told both me and Sarah Temporal, the event organiser, how much they liked it. An audience member shared a video, reposted on Instagram by Sarah: a clip of me declaiming part of my poem, with the caption: 'WE LOVE ROSEMARY. VINTAGE AND SASSY.' Oh yes, love that label!

Here's a pic of me on the night, taken by my friend Judith in the audience.

A week later (last night!) I was a featured reader in the poetry night at Kyogle Readers and Writers Festival. Kyogle's a very small town not far from here, but the Festival, started a few years ago, is rapidly growing bigger. It was quite an honour to be included. Again, I loved being in the audience, hearing all the great poetry that was shared. I shared a bit of a journey in poems, from my beginnings (back in the mid-seventies) of becoming a public poet instead of a private scribbler, through the experience a few years later of running workshops in prison. One woman in the audience told me afterwards that she too had taught in prisons in the early eighties; she was excited to meet someone else who'd done it too.

'What were you teaching?' I asked her.

'Oh ... love, basically.'

'Me too!' I said; and we hugged.

I forgot to ask anyone to take photos of me at Kyogle. There may be some official ones later. But after I got home I did take a photo of the unexpected gifts I received in return for my appearance. And very nice too!