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New poems by Mark Hill

Monday, January 22, 2007
Who would believe that, only a couple of years ago, Mark Hill felt unable to write poems and short stories in English?

The talented Iranian poet and novelist told us that his only hope was to find a translator of his many writings in Farsi (Persian). And yet here he is, only a short time later, writing beautiful poems like this one directly into English.

As a poet, I can't imagine writing poems in, say, Italian, the only language in which I can reasonably claim that I have any kind of proficiency. And translation itself seems a mysterious art. (What gets 'translated'? What gets left out? How do things change?)

I can understand the exiled writer's fears about writing in a language which always feels, somehow, one step removed. And yet, this also makes me think about how all language is slippery, impossible to pin down. We feel something inside ourselves and, as we try to put it into words, it has already changed, moved on. Perhaps this continual reaching after language is what making poems is really all about? Perhaps we write poems because we know that our words are somehow never quite enough? In this way, every poem is a small act of courage.

What I notice in the writing on our wiki is that something very interesting and new happens when people get up enough courage to begin to write in a new language.

Take a look at three of Mark's new poems here.

(posted by Sophie)