Tuesday Poem – Found in Translation –


exploded as stardust

from a dark black hole.


the cosmos.


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

I got into several discussions yesterday on the nature of poetry and I realised that of all the arts poetry is perhaps the most liberated. It can never be silenced.  In fact it becomes stronger in the wake of such action. Hence publications such as Jail Verse from Enoh Meyomesse. The above fragment is my spontaneous expression of this realisation. I dedicate it to Enoh and the many other poets behind bars.
An English PEN challenge: translating one of Enoh Meyomesse’s poem into Maori – can you do it?
Please take time to read the short extracts below referencing Maori translation and the latest from Huia on the value of the Maori language.
Pen Matters

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

Enoh Meyomesse, Jail VerseNatasha 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 below extraction is also from the NZSA e-zine February 28th 2014.
The Value of the Māori Language – Te Hua o te Reo Māori

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.