exploded as stardust
from a dark black hole.
in the genomes
of every race and creed.
Supplies the nanno energy
in every cell that lives.
Will never be detained
for it slips between the words
to pass through steel doors.
(c) Helen McKinlay
LITERARY CAMPAIGNING WITH ENGLISH PEN‘ In a previous edition of the NZSA e-newsletter, we featured a link to ‘Jail Verse’, a crowd-sourced translation of poetry by Enoh Meyomesse, a political prisoner in Cameroon . Robert Sharp, Head of Campaigns at English PEN, who published the collection, sent us this message:”Enoh was surprised and delighted to hear that his poetry has been read and discussed halfway around the world in New Zealand . Sharing literature is a positive and creative way to show solidarity with a fellow writer in trouble for exercising his right to free speech.
Has there has ever been a Cameroonian contribution to New Zealand literary culture before? I wonder if anyone would like to translate one or more of Enoh’s poems into Maori? Translation as an ‘Act of Literature’ would be a great help: If the government of Cameroon sees that diverse communities in other countries are talking about the injustice done to Enoh Meyomesse, they may hasten his release from prison.”
This English PEN challenge of translating a poem into Maori would be ideally suited to someone wishing to begin or extend their translation portfolio. There’s no payment, but the charity will publish the results on their website, and of course facilitate sending a copy of the translation to Enoh Meyomesse himself. (This notice was published in the New Zealand Society of Authors e-zine, Friday 28th February. 2014)
If you can help please contact Robert Sharp of English Pen here
Natasha Lehrer said this. ‘I am a supporter of the extremely valuable work that English PEN does to support writers at risk and keep them in the public eye. It’s both an inspiring and an important organisation and I was truly thrilled to have the opportunity to get involved in a small way with their work when they asked for translators of Enoh Meyomesse’s work. I didn’t know anything of his poetry but was moved by its extreme rawness, his words a savage cry into the void, tempered by a profound spiritual hope.’
Natasha Lehrer, translator, Jail Verse: Poems from Kondengui Prison
The Value of the Māori Language
As I was putting together this weeks e-news, (says the Editor,) in particular the preceeding story about wanting someone to put their hand up to translate Jail Verse by Enoh Meyomesse into Maori, I received the Huia newsletter and saw Volume 2 of The Value of the Māori Language – Te Hua o te Reo Māori will be released in March.
The Value of the Māori Language is a compilation of important ideas and philosophies from key commentators in the field of Māori language revitalisation in response to the question ‘What is the value of the Māori language?’.
This collection of essays in Māori and English explores the actions taken to restore the status of the Māori language, challenges ideas about how the language can be revitalised and looks at approaches to ensure the future of the language. To read more or advance order the book go here
Stefanie Lash is the guest poet on this week’s Tuesday Poem, edited by Helen Rickerby. A new and particularly unique writer. Please take a look and be sure to check out the side bar of Tuesday poets and lose your self in it’s variety.