Kratka je bila

Kratka je bila
Kratka je bila
dan jo je
malo podaljšal.
Milan Jesih

from Usta (Ljubljana: Založba Mladinska knjiga, 1985)

Reproduced by permission of the author and translators.
Short was...
Short was
the night,
the day has
lengthened it a bit.
translated by Milan Jesih
Short wis...
Short wis the nicht,
the day has 
wrocht it 
a bittockie langer.
translated by Matthew Fitt
oli öö,
päev pikendas seda
translated by Doris Kareva
Byr fu’r...
Byr fu’r 
y dydd rhyw arlliw arni.
translated by Mererid Puw Davies
bu ghoirid...
bu ghoirid
an oidhche –
chaidh a cur am faid
leis an là gu ìre
translated by Rody Gorman
Milan Jesih

Milan Jesih, born in Ljubljana, Slovenia, is a poet, playwright and translator who studied comparative literature in Ljubljana. In the 1960s he was a member of an avant-garde literary-performance group. Now a freelance writer and winner of the Prešeren Foundation Prize (1986), Jesih has translated more than forty plays (Shakespeare, Chekhov, Bulgakov). He was President of the Slovene Writers Association 2009-2011. He has published eight collections of poetry, the most recent being Soneti, drugi ('New Sonnets', 1993) and Jambi (2000).

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Matthew Fitt

Matthew Fitt is a poet and educator, working in the field of Scots language education. 

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Doris Kareva

Doris Kareva was born in Tallinn, Estonia. Having graduated in English Language and Literature from Tartu University, she was the literary editor of the cultural weekly Sirp 1978-93, and 1997-2002, and was Secretary-General of the Estonian National Commission for UNESCO 1992-2008. In 2009 she became Chief Editor of the family journal Meie Pere.

She has published many collections of poetry (including one children’s book and one experimental bilingual book with Marina Tervonen), translated essays, poetry and plays (Anna Akhmatova, Emily Dickinson, Joseph Brodsky, Kahlil Gibran, Shakespeare, W. H. Auden, Samuel Beckett etc.). Her poetry has been translated into many languages, with one full collection in English, Shape of Time  (Arc, 2010), translated by Tiina Aleman.

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Mererid Puw Davies

Mererid Puw Davies grew up in Lancashire and Clywd, and studied in Hamburg and Oxford. She currently lectures in German Literature, film and cultural studies at University College London.

Besides her academic publications, she is the co-author of two fantasy adventure books, and has published two collections of poetry: Darluniau ('Pictures', 1988) and Caneuon o Ben Draw’r Byd ('Songs from the End of the World', 1996). Mererid Puw Davies is also interested in the translation of poetry, notably from and into Welsh and other lesser-used languages, and has worked, translated and published with poets and translators in lesser-used languages across Europe.

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Rody Gorman

Rody Gorman was born in Dublin in 1960 and now lives on the Isle of Skye; he writes in and translates between, Irish and Scottish Gaelic. 

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About Kratka je bila

‘Voyages & versions / Tursan is Tionndaidhean’ was the title of the translation workshop run by the Scottish Poetry Library and Literature Across Frontiers 12-18 May 2003. The group consisted of Petr Borkovec (Czech Republic), Mererid Puw Davies (Wales), Jakub Ekier (Poland), Matthew Fitt (Scotland), Rody Gorman (Scotland), Milan Jesih (Slovenia),  Doris Kareva (Estonia), Esther Kinsky (England) and Aled Llion (Wales). The group spent days at Moniack Mhor writing centre in the Highlands, returned to the Library in Edinburgh and went up to Dundee Contemporary Arts, and gave multi-lingual readings, producing what was, in effect, an hour’s sound-poem. Several of the poets mentioned their sense of renewed faith in poetry – how refreshed they felt by the chance to look closely at their own and others’ work in company with people whose aesthetics might be quite different but whose skills and passion were recognisably similar.