KOCHI: Literature Across Frontiers, a discussion organised by the European Platform for Literary Exchange, at Krithi International Literary Festival, provided an opportunity for lovers of Malayalam verse to understand the poems written in marginalised languages of Europe and interact with the authors.
Marti Sales, a poet from Barcelona in Spain, who writes in Catalan, a local language spoken by nine million people; Sian Northey, a Welsh poet and Vanni Bianconi, an Italian writer born in Switzerland recited their poems and Malayali writers Anita Thampi, V M Girija, Anwar Ali and Pramod K M presented their translations of these writers' works.
It was a rare event providing an opportunity to understand the culture and tradition of the language minorities in Europe and their cultural diversity.
Literature Across Frontiers director and editor Alexandra Büchler, who moderated the session, said it was a meeting of ideas, languages and culture. Later, Anita, Girija, Ali and Pramod recited their poems and Sales, Northey and Bianconi read out their translations of the Malayalam poems.
Northey said the poets take the freedom to make some changes in the original poems to make it more appealing to the readers.
"We interact with the writers and it provides us with the opportunity to understand the poem more deeply.
We try to convey the emotions expressed by the poet in our language and for this we have to make some changes. This is the most beautiful setting from where I have read out my poems," she said.
Bianconi said his translation of Malayalam poems stood closer to the original version compared to some English versions.
" Our language is more flexible and I was able to reflect the rhyming in Anitha Thampi's poem 'Kachapadi'. When I informed the author about the liberty I have taken in translation, she said that was exactly what she meant," he said.