Poems by A.H. Afrasiabi, translated by Niloufar Talebi
Video from The Translation Project — a scene from Icarus/Rise, “a multimedia theatrical piece based on new Iranian poetry, created, translated and narrated by Niloufar Talebi, in collaboration with choreographer and video artist Alex Ketley and composer Bobak Salehi” (text from YouTube).
The Translation Project’s page goes on to say:
Based on the poetry in BELONGING: New Poetry by Iranians Around the World, ICARUS/RISE is inspired by the Iranian spoken word tradition of Naghali, which is practiced in the streets, cafes, public rituals, or ‘art music’ stage. By giving this spoken word tradition new content (new poetry in BELONGING) — rather than its usual content of classical Persian poetry and myths — and fusing it with western theatrical elements, ICARUS/RISE gives voice to hybrid-Iranians, reflecting their experience in contemporary society.
I’m going to break my informal rule against featuring slideshows today, because I think these are exceptionally well done. The poet is Kwame Dawes, and the photographer is Joshua Cogan. The slideshows were produced by the Pulitzer Center, and are only one facet of a multimedia website, Live Hope Love, which includes interviews, audio of many other poems, and more. Dawes took three trips to his native Jamaica to collect materials for the project; it resembled a regular work of investigative journalism in every way, except for the fact that one of the final products was a collection of poems. His mission, according to the Pulitzer Center: “to explore the experience of people living with HIV/AIDS and to examine the ways in which the disease has shaped their lives.”
A tad on the literal side, but nicely done, I thought.
Video by Rachel Burnham with Media Mike Hazard and David Bengtson from Listen Up! youth media network
A nicely minimalistic treatment, though I’m not sure why they changed the title. Hearing it in a kid’s voice really adds to the impact of the poem for me.