Riga by Alys Conran

Riga by Alys Conran

In September, poets Alys Conran and Rhys Trimble participated in an International Translation Poetry Workshop held in Riga, Latvia, organised by Literature Across Frontiers and Latvian Literature, in co-operation with Poetry Wales and Wolf Magazine.

Following the workshop, poetry by Alys Conran appeard in Latvian translation in Punctum, a Latvian web magazine dedicated to literature and philiosophy. 

The project was a part of the process preparing for the London Book Fair 2018 where Latvia, along with its Baltic neighbours, will be the Market Focus.

Below she shares her experiences at the workshop in a prose poem.


The clocks sped forward two hours for you Riga on the Whizz Air flight into quick dusk and I craned toward the clear skies of the astronomy magazine I turn to like the teenaged amateur I was except now there’s fear in this turn away from the aging day full of nostalgia for galaxies that whirl for our telescopes long after they’re gone the magazine photographs catching at clocks through a long lens like old slides or mothballed wedding dresses or the three stars your freedom monument still holds up for the first flickering independence between the two eclipses of your occupations and this orthodox church which was turned for the soviet years into a planetarium where kids could come to look into the dome of stars until construction workers tried to refurbish that era again again and repainted the golden roof to rekindle a wormhole you might recover Christ through although you tell me that by the time the Beatles took off here John Lennon was already dead and the monument to the motorcar brigade was a before-its-time back-to-the-future vehicle of stone built in nineteen-thirty to commemorate nineteen-eighteen to nineteen-twenty and only found again in nineteen-ninety-one looking sort of eighties in my dimension and I have leaked some time here too translating poems from your tempo into mine and so ran out of days to see the church or to imagine the planetarium with its unwavering soviet stars in the late unextinguishing summer like your poems about how birth and death loop into each other infinitely searching the internet for what it is to sit in your orthodox church under the echoing dome as the ghosts of those glimmering candles wink like stars I scroll through twitter in search of time-travellers or messiahs perhaps if I had checked the dome for a remaining star or climbed the monument to the motorcar brigade and flown it to the soviet airbase abandoned now in wasteland years left in a kind of static dream like all this return flight reeling back and back waiting to see if your light will make it and can I recover you and all your resurrections.

Read more about the workshop here.

Watch a short film about the workshop here.

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