Migrant Shores: Irish, Moroccan and Galician Poetry edited by Manuela Palacios was a choice for a local poetry reading group. I was looking for something to expand my poetry reading, I gave it a try.
What came out of the reading was several months of trying to figure out what was happening and what the meanings of everything was. Most poems you can feel and hear the theme of immigration, emigration and migration. Some of the people had to leave homes due to wars and violence and became refugees; some left due to famines and found their ways to another shore; some left due to political factors. Others, that theme is a bit more hidden but there is a journey none-the-less.
I could write about what I feel the book means and my feelings. Yet, that is too English paper. Instead, I show the overall experience.
There was potential to the title and cover art. The fact that writers from Morocco, Galicia, and Ireland would be creating poetry was intriguing. The fact that they would have the original poem (in the original language) then translated was a unique idea. Then having the translators create works of their own was even more interesting sounding.
The results were sophisticated poems dealing with the theme in their own unique way. The first poem was an Arabic translation. I looked at the art of the text of the original poem and thought “This must be one of the hardest languages to learn to write.” The meaning was equally hard to get at first read. There was too much in a handful of lines. And each poem did that. If you have a background from any of the areas, you probably will get more out of those. Having a background as a farmer’s great-niece and granddaughter, I saw the fields of Ireland better than the world created in the Moroccan or Galician poetry.
Each poem is graceful, lumpy, impossible to understand and easy to read. Like all poetry, you get out of it what you put into it. This is not for the casual poetry reader and even a more experienced reader might find it challenging but ultimately rewarding.