My main project this autumn has been translating the Somalian poet Caasha Luul Mohamud Yusuf for the Poetry Translation Centre. It’s been fascinating to learn about Somalian poetry, which is still very rooted to the oral trandition, and I’ve spent the last few days immersed in the Gabay form, which – almost like anglo-saxon poetry – is structured around half-lines and alliteration. It’s quite intimidating – Somalia is known as the Land of the Bards, and they take their poetry very seriously. Caasha’s work is incredibly fierce and moving, and she’s a wonderful performer.
If you want to catch us, I’ll be reading my translations alongside her as part of the Somali Poets’ Tour 2011 at Off the Shelf in Sheffield this saturday (the 29th of October), and in Swansea on November the 8th.