'Birds' by Kajal Ahmad

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This week’s poem is 'Birds' by Kajal Ahmad from Kurdistan. The poem is read first in English translation by Mimi Khalvati and then in Kurdish by Kajal Ahmad.

In her essay on translating Kajal Ahmad Mimi Khalvati says "The sweetness and simplicity of the voice, the political and personal passion, the directness and immediacy of the address, were qualities that struck me most, and which I decided were the most important to preserve. I also liked Kajal's sense of humour and the fable-like quality of the poems, evoking so clearly her cultural heritage. In my translations, I also wanted to preserve some sense of the Kurdish language, while helping the poems to sit naturally in English. In considering the strengths and weaknesses of my own voice, I thought that the biggest danger for me might be in losing some of the simplicity that Choman had achieved so gracefully and, to this end, decided to stick as closely as possible to these first versions."

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