Un-tongue tied

Tuesday 30th September 8pm – ICA, London

Staff at English PEN recently attended ‘Un-tongue tied’, a semi-staged event which saw two highly-acclaimed poets performing together for the first time with their English poet-translators.

Although the poets wrote and performed in different languages – Neger Hasan-Zadeh in Russian and Ziba Karbassi in Persian – they both share the spoken Azeri language and cultural heritage.  These two women now find themselves outside the lands of their birth, in London, writing in their mother tongue and also working with poets here to see their work translated into English.

Under a dramtatic spotlight, each poet performed in her mother tongue in a sequence that had been carefully adapted for the stage by dramaturg Caroline Bergvall.  Their translators – English PEN member Richard McKane for Neger Hasan-Zadeh and Stephen Watts for Ziba Karbassi – then read the poetry in English translation.  At times, the poets and translators read together, provoking a complex interplay between language and meaning.  Despite the fact that most of the audience could not speak Persian or Russian, the power of the poetry and the success of the dramatugy meant that the event was both enagaging and utterly captivating.

Un-tongue tied was organised by Spread the Word, in partnership with the ICA.

Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersintranslation/events/recentevents/untonguetied/

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