poetry in action features work by poets from around the world, translated into English.
It has three rallying cries:
Poets of the world, unite and take over!
Resist the oppressive constraints of good, publishable poetry established by mainstream literary venues!
Only poetry in translation, all the time!
Coming at you on the 20th of each month.
When someone asks How are you?
Don’t answer: I’m fine.
Answer: I’m searching.
No more hollow words.
How are you?
A crystal clear sky. That’s how I am.
Ko te kdo vpraša Kako si?
Mu ne odgovori: Dobro sem.
Odgovori mu: V iskanju.
Nobenih votlih besed več.
Jasno, kristalno nebo. Tako sem.
You see an ant carrying a dead ant.
Only together do they make what you call life.
You’re alive only as much as you’re already dead.
But not living dead. Revived by death.
By everything you’ve been.
By everything you’ve fled.
The pure motionlessness of motion.
A dead ant moving a living one.
Mravljo vidiš, ki nosi mrtvo mravljo.
Skupaj šele sta, kar imenuješ življenje.
Živ si le, kolikor si že mrtev.
A ne živi mrtvec. Z umrlim oživljen.
Z vsem, kar si bil.
Z vsem, pred čemer si bežal.
Čista negibnost gibanja.
Mrtva mravlja, ki premika živo.
O deaths deaths deaths,
You who are river stones stones stones.
Water of life,
Water of love,
Water who wears away away away.
Without you I wouldn’t flow,
Without you I wouldn’t say
That I am not, that I am.
O river stones stones stones,
You who vanish into water water water.
O water of life,
O water of love,
Who vanishes among you.
O smrti smrti smrti,
Ki ste rečni kamni kamni kamni.
Voda brusi brusi brusi.
O rečni kamni kamni kamni,
Ki ste v meni meni meni.
Brez vas ne bi tekla,
Brez vas ne bi rekla,
Da nisem, da sem.
O rečni kamni kamni kamni,
Ki izginjate v vodi vodi vodi.
O voda življenja,
O voda ljubezni,
Ki izginja med vas.
I like the bridge
To the castle.
It is wide and solid.
Once it must have been
Lowered only for the chosen ones.
Now it is a vast
Solid bridge that does not choose
Who will cross it.
Všeč mi je most
Širok je in trden.
Nekoč je moral biti
Spuščal se je le izbranim.
Sedaj je to prostran
Trden most, ki ne izbira,
Kdo ga bo prečkal.
You appear there, where there are no letters, no numbers.
The light is too dark to see, or it’s night.
There are no voices here. Sometimes someone sighs
And then a thousand mouths start to scream
Or to recite some anonymous poem.
There are no walls, no objects here, at least
You haven’t come across them. There is also no floor.
As if your body is constantly gliding through a swarm
Of fluttering butterfly wings or a cloud of rain.
Sometimes, when silence blows in with unknown names,
It seems to you that others must be here,
Similar to you, but you never meet anyone here,
Or you unwittingly pass through them, and it is at this moment
When you experience something like a thought or dream or emotion.
Sometimes you still had death and were afraid.
You thought that stuffed tigers’ heads floated everywhere
And that each held one of your hearts between its fangs.
Now, amidst all the growling, you know what peace is.
Although you go and return, you are always here.
For here is not here. Here is
Znašel si se tam, kjer ni črk ne številk.
Svetloba je presilna, da bi gledal, ali pa je noč.
Tukaj ni glasov. Le včasih kdo vzdihne,
In tedaj prične tisoč ust hkrati kričati
Ali recitirati kako neznano pesem.
Tukaj ni ne zidov ne predmetov, vsaj ti
Nisi nikoli naletel nanje. Tudi tal ni.
Kot da tvoje telo ves čas drsi skozi roj
Frfotajočih metuljevih kril ali skozi oblak dežja.
Včasih, ko zapiha tišina z neznanimi imeni,
Se ti zdi, da morajo biti tukaj še drugi,
Tebi podobni, a tukaj nikoli ne srečaš nikogar
Ali pa greš nevede skozenj in je to takrat,
Ko doživiš nekaj takega kot misel ali sanjo ali čustvo.
Včasih si imel še smrt in bilo te je strah.
Mislil si, da povsod lebdijo nagačene tigrove glave
In da drži vsaka med svojimi čekani eno izmed tvojih src.
Sedaj, sredi sitega režanja, veš, kaj je mir.
Čeprav greš in se vračaš, si zmeraj tukaj.
Kajti tukaj ni tukaj. Tukaj je
Slovenian writer Aleš Šteger has published eight books of poetry, three novels, and two books of essays. A Chevalier des Artes et Lettres in France and a member of the Berlin Academy of Arts, he received the 1998 Veronika Prize for the best Slovenian poetry book, the 1999 Petrarch Prize for young European authors, the 2007 Rožanc Award for the best Slovenian book of essays, and the 2016 International Bienek Prize. His work has been translated into over 15 languages, including Chinese, German, Czech, Croatian, Hungarian, and Spanish. Four of his books have been published in English: The Book of Things, which won the 2011 Best Translated Book Award; Berlin; the novel Absolution; and Above the Sky Beneath the Earth. He also has worked in the field of visual arts (most recently with a large scale installation at the International Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India), completed several collaborations with musicians (Godalika, Uroš Rojko, Peter N. Gruber), and collaborated with Peter Zach on the film Beyond Boundaries.
Brian Henry is the author of eleven books of poetry, most recently Permanent State (Threadsuns, 2020). He co-edited the international magazine Verse from 1995 to 2017 and established the Tomaž Šalamun Prize in 2015. His translation of Aleš Šteger’s The Book of Things appeared from BOA Editions in 2010 and won the Best Translated Book Award. He also has translated Tomaž Šalamun’s Woods and Chalices (Harcourt, 2008), Aleš Debeljak’s Smugglers (BOA, 2015), and Aleš Šteger’s Above the Sky Beneath the Earth (White Pine, 2019) and Berlin (Counterpath, 2015).
poetry in action is an Action Books blog feature curated and edited by Katherine M. Hedeen (@kmhedeen) with web editing by Paul Cunningham.