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This report is taken from PN Review 238, Volume 44 Number 2, November - December 2017.

Two Translators Vahni Capildeo
My Sisters Were Immediacy and Simplicity, Two Translators


Word arrived that Sasha Dugdale, the poet Julith Jedamus, Magda Raczynska at the Polish Cultural Institute, the translator Antonia Lloyd Jones and Modern Poetry in Translation, were planning an event and commissioning work which would evidence the existing ties between British and Polish poetic cultures, and their importance to each other.

An invitation regarding a poetic response to ‘a Polish poem that has meant a lot’ to me, as one of an ‘accumulation’ of ‘small gestures’ against the hate crimes which some of my fellow British citizens have been committing against our still-fellow EU citizens here in the UK, in which they especially have targeted (those considered to be) Poles, I accepted without question – but with troubled gratitude.

That it had become necessary to try to choose a Polish poem for the given purposes, modest and humane in themselves, made me feel as if my head had been knocked back in a speeded-up planetarium exhibit of every memorable encounter with – what absurdity shall I reach for? ‘everyday Polishness’? – in the UK; and with the threat of de-constellation. To what is creative expression adequate, where some residents want to make excisions from other residents? Into what thought processes our neo-fascist times send us spinning.

Scotland, with its two-way Scottish–Polish migration dating back to the 1400s. My Glasgow winters, their forever flavour of the walk from the yoga centre in Partick, past the Gaelic school, to the Polish shop ...


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