our words make worlds

Migrant Words

Title: Migrant Words 
Session type: Panel/Presentation
Chair: Catherine Boyle, King’s College London
Participants: Lorna Shaughessy, National University of Galway; Manuela Palacios, University of Santiago de Compostela; Martín Veiga, University College Cork

This session presented Migrant Shores (Salmon Poetry, 2017), a trans-national anthology of poetry edited by Manuela Palacios of the University of Santiago de Compostela. This book defies negative assumptions about the possibilities of translating poetry, and the capacity of poetry in translation to create new international readership. It represents a novel approach to ‘Worldmaking’ by inviting poets from three distinct geopolitical areas to collaborate in the process of translating contemporary poetry, by reaching a broad international audience, and by deepening both the poets’ and readers’ appreciation of individual and collective experiences of migration. 

The theme of migration continues to evolve in all three poetic traditions which share a long and often painful diasporic history, whether Irish, Galician or Moroccan. Translations of the poems in Galician and Arabic are provided by Irish poets, who also contribute ‘echo poems’, their own poetic responses. Many levels of migration feature here, as words migrate across both visible and invisible borders: from historically ‘minoritised’ Galician to economically ‘dominant’ English; from the music of Arab-language poetry so rarely heard in the Anglophone world, to the English of the Irish lyric tradition.