Marie Silkeberg

Words in War II

A presentation of, and reflections on, a six year long collaboration between an Arabic, and a Swedish poet, Ghayath Almadhoun and Marie Silkeberg. Ghayath Almadhoun, a Palestinian poet born in Syria 1979, migrated to Sweden in 2008. Marie Silkeberg is a Swedish poet, born in Denmark 1961, and granddaughter to a Russian Greek immigrantfrom Odessa, Ukraine.

This presentation will focus on the process of writing the book Till Damaskus (in English: “To Damascus” or ”The road to Damascus”), a co-written book, in which the Arabic poems is translated through English into Swedish by the two poets. The process of translation being its fundament, still the questions and necessity of translation are performed with the revolution and later war in Syria as a background. What does it mean to write and translate, in an ongoing conflict, in the silence of the world? How does it affect the words? How does it affect a collaboration? What can be shared in the effort to record and chronicle the present for the future? Can difference be of any use in each poets struggle to relate words of poetry to the world of today? As resistance? As strategies of survival, of expression, of survival in expression?

Extracts from the poetry films The Celebration, 2014 and The City, 2012 will conclude the presentation, contrasting the singularity of one voice with the multiple anonymous voices of a city.