Sleep خواب by Sepideh Jodeyri
by Sepideh Jodeyri
“We hear Jodeyri’s beautiful voice, and experience the sonic repetitions, the pauses, the rhythms, much like our own breathing as we drift off to sleep, or awaken, or are suspended in the limbo between.”
A note from the editor
Thoughtful translation is perhaps one of the most critical activities in which we can engage as a global civilization. Without it, entire cultures would be alien to each other. Yet it is also fraught with challenges, especially in poetry.
Poetry, particularly contemporary poetry, relies upon multiplicity of meaning and the interaction—often the delightful friction—between form and content. Such intricacies are unique to specific languages, even to dialects of the same language. In a grammatical sense, Persian is deceptively simple. But when we look at our rich vocabulary and idiom, there is abundant flavor and nuance and singularity of meaning.
We’ve decided to initially share award-winning poet Sepideh Jodeyri’s evocative “خواب” or “Sleep,” in audio form solely in Persian, as yet without an English translation.
Years ago, I had the joy of seeing Cheek by Jowl’s all-Russian, all-male version of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night at Brooklyn Academy of Music. I know this play exceedingly well, so rather than rely on necessarily imperfect supertitles, I watched and listened to the performance, effectively without language comprehension. What I may have lost in literal meaning, I gained in an unforgettable transcendence of art beyond expression.
What do we hear when we don’t strive to understand? Can we relate if we don’t share a common language? These are issues facing us in the world at large, and poetry is one way to strengthen our ability to accept what is not in our comprehension. Indeed, to learn to rejoice in such uncertainty, and the opportunity to experience that which is not entirely ours.
So too, the Persian love for declamation of poetry is well-documented; many of us cherish memories of sitting in family rooms while a beloved offered a stage-worthy performance of a well-known piece. In this poem, like an unset gemstone, we hear Jodeyri’s beautiful voice, and experience the sonic repetitions, the pauses, the rhythms, much like our own breathing as we drift off to sleep, or awaken, or are suspended in the limbo between.
In coming months, we’ll post a translation, but in the meantime, enjoy Sepideh Jodeyri’s “خواب.”
by Sepideh Jodeyri
FEATURED IMAGE BY Alexander Kaunas via UNSPLASH
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sepideh Jodeyri is an Iranian poet and translator living in Washington D.C. She has published eleven books and was the winner of the Jovellanos International Poetry Prize in 2015 for her poem, “Chãk.” Her poem “A piece of flesh” was selected for publication in 2016 by the Dangerous Women Project, which is housed at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh. She was also the guest writer of ICORN in Italy for two years. In 2017, Jodeyri was selected as the international guest writer for the International Women’s Group Glasgow North “Many Voices” association, which included refugee Arab women based in Glasgow. Later in the same year, she joined leading Scottish writers and journalists to recite poetry on the International Day of the Imprisoned Writer at the Scottish Parliament. Jodeyri also speaks and lectures at various international events on issues related to freedom of speech, resistance poetry, and feminist writing.