A winner of the Members' Poems competition on the theme of 'Light', in the autumn issue of Poetry News, judged by Liane Strauss.

The Day Patterns Whilst My Lover Cooks

by Victoria Grigg

Today light flew in diagonals
through Hungerford Bridge.

Now ingredients are found,

Today was about tension, and relief.
The relaxed logic of a day off.

Now he sighs, dries
his hands.

Today I walked away
from that hospital. Brights, metals.

Now a tick tick tick
to the crown of flame.

Today the river was a harlequin
flinger of rays and steel.

Now the onions hiss, kiss.
And I’m here, at the table.

Today things were rearranged
by light, free as dance.

Now spaghetti curls
in the currents.

And today the Thames sorted its diamonds.
And the light spun its bones.

Now it’s clean hair and talk. Between us
the taste of food.

Iain Galbraith has won The Poetry Society’s Popescu European Poetry Translation Prize 2015 for his translation of Jan Wagner’s collection Self-Portrait with a Swarm of Bees, published by Arc Publications in 2015. The prize was judged this year by Olivia McCannon and Clare Pollard and supported by the British Council.

Of the winning collection, the judges said:

“Galbraith converts every challenge (formal, lexical, metrical) into an opportunity, matching Wagner’s ingenuity and investment at everystep, having  internalized the ‘primal syntax’ so completely that everything he writes hits the mark. The result is a perfect sufficiency: a set of poems in English that somehow inhabit the same skin as the German, with their own autonomous heart and lungs.

They appear in yet another wonderful bilingual edition from Arc’s Visible Poets Series, with an illuminating introduction by Galbraith that reveals the living beauty and efficiency of his translation’s inner workings.”

Writing about the process of translation, Galbraith himself describes how “No word can afford to relax, except as enacted relaxation; each earns its place by association alone, and the whole becomes more than its sum of tiny decisions.”

The winner was chosen from a shortlist of six collections by seven translators. The judges also commended a further five collections, reflecting a strong and fascinating collection of eligible books translated from 19 languages.

Read more about the prize and the shortlist on the Popescu Prize pages of the website, and on our Press Release.

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