Peter Constantine and Mohammed Kadalah have teamed together to translate into Arabic a series of Modern Greek poems by Jazra Khaleed, a poet of Chechen and Greek origin living in Athens. Constantine and Kadalah’s first translations have now appeared in Europe’s Lyrikline, published by the Literaturwerkstatt Berlin.
Jazra Khaleed is one of the most important new voices in European poetry. He lives in Athens’ ravaged inner city where tens of thousands of immigrants are now stranded while Greece itself is facing the harsh reality of its devastating economic crisis. Peter Constantine, who was one of the editors of The Greek Poets: Homer to the Present (W.W. Norton), says: “Jazra Khaleed was the first Greek poet to respond to a new Greek reality and reflect the harshness of a country in deep crisis. What Mohammed Kadalah and I find particularly interesting as translators is Khaleed’s stylistic inventiveness and originality. Despite his voice as a disenfranchised immigrant, his prowess in using the Greek language and its three millennia of linguistic heritage are part of what make him one of Greece’s most compelling poetic voices.”
Lyrikline is a literary meeting place of poets and translators with a worldwide audience, one of the foremost poetic arenas in the world. Each of the over six thousand poems that Lyrikline has published over the past two decades is also available as a recording on the Lyrikline website. “What personally draws me to Lyrikline is its finger-tip distance from readers all over the world,” Mohammed Kadalah says. ” In the most remote village in Syria, if you have Internet, you can read the poetry. I think Jazra Khaleed’s poems speak to the Arab world. He is inventive and interesting, pushing Greek, and in our case, Arabic into new directions with rap rhythms, internal rhymes, and daring words.”
Links to the Interview and other translations