Poetry Connections


A Multilingual and Multimedia Performance

Pondicherry – Chennai – Pune

8th to 18th December, 2010

As part of the Literature Across Frontier’s (LAF) translation workshop, POETRY CONNECTIONS: A Multilingual and Multimedia Performance will be held in India across two cities – Chennai and Pune. The poetry translation workshop leading up to these events is scheduled to be held from 8th to 15th December, 2010 at Pondicherry. Eight national and international poets will be participating in the workshop. The six-day intensive workshop is envisaged to bring poets in contact with various contexts of their languages, regions, styles, formats etc. With musical, visual and performative aspects the poets will interact with each other in the beautiful environs of Adishakti.

The cross-translation and creative work achieved during this intensive workshop will be showcased as a performance at the inaugural of the Prakriti Poetry Festival on the 15th December in Chennai at 7pm.


Workshop at Sangam House, Adishakti

8th to 15th December, 2010

This particular workshop to be held at Adishakti will bring together the following eight poets.

  • Arjun Bali – English, Hindi, Punjabi
  • Bill Herbert – English
  • Meena Kandasamy – English, Tamil
  • Raphael Bendicht Urweider – English, German
  • Robin Ngangom – English, Manipuri
  • Roselyne Sibille – French, English
  • Sampurna Chattarji – English, Bengali
  • Zoë Skoulding – English

The poets have been selected to bring together a range of languages as well as to look at different cultural contexts they work in. The workshop to be held at the beautiful environs in Pondicherry will be a blend of working on text as well as incorporating other elements like music, performance and visuals. Unlike other workshops where poets work in pairs with the assistance of interpreters, or where translations are produced collectively into one language, this workshop aims for cross-translation in different directions, providing an environment where participants are encouraged to translate work by everyone in the group and where they can learn about each other’s literary tradition and the contemporary context in which each of them writes. The week-long residential workshop will consist of group sessions and sessions dedicated to individual work. Daily discussions around the work in progress will allow the group to explore the microcosm of each text, as well as wider issues of translation practice. The workshop is expected to result in a multilingual multimedia performance to be staged at Chennai and Pune.

POETRY CONNECTIONS at Chennai and Pune

Performance at the Amethyst (Chennai) and Kala Chhaya (Pune)

15 & 18 December, 2010

The same group of eight poets will put up a multilingual and multimedia performance at the Amethyst, Chennai on 15 December, 2010. The workshop will be held at the inauguration of ‘Poetry with Prakriti’, a two-week long poetry festival organized annually in Chennai by the Prakriti Foundation. The group of poets will showcase the same performance in Pune as part of the Open Space at Kala Chhaya on 18 December, 2010.


Date: 15 December, 2010

Time: 7 pm

Venue: Amethyst,

Gopalapuram, Chennai


Date: 18 December, 2010

Time: 6.30 pm

Venue: Kala Chaya Campus, Opp Vikhe Patil School,

Patrakar Nagar Road, Chaturshrungi, Pune

LAF translation workshops have been developed to create opportunities for translation from and between less widely-spoken languages — an area often lacking translators or quality translations, especially of poetry — and to promote lesser-known literatures. The workshops bring together mostly poets but sometimes also prose writers to translate each other’s work via a “bridge” language such as English, French or German. By the end of 2010 LAF will have organised 51 workshops in 14 countries, involving around 500 writers/translators writing in over 40 languages producing an estimated 4,500 translations of poems and short stories which are subsequently published in magazines and on literary websites, and sometimes in book form.

In 2009 we managed the Writers Chain translation workshop in Neemrana under the auspices of Wales Arts International and British Council and in cooperation with Siyahi. The workshop was followed by a highly acclaimed performance at the Jaipur Literature Festival.

Aims and benefits of such workshops:

LAF workshops

  • raise the profile of less-known contemporary poetry and poetic traditions and give prominence to less-
  • widely spoken languages;
  • result in translations between languages which may not have competent or experienced poetry translators;
  • contribute to the development of translation workshop models applicable to lesser-known languages
  • establish or strengthen new international connections for the participating poets and organisations;
  • extend the international contents of associated events (festivals, book fairs);
  • develop poets’ translation skills;
  • result in the transfer of workshop organisation and leading skills;
  • instigate long-term cooperation between organisations;
  • encourage analysis of the participants’ own work and its place in the context of a particular poetic tradition;
  • inspire creation of new work;
  • provide a forum for discussion of wider translation issues;
  • allow the dissemination of translated work and workshop method documentation internationally, via the internet, at other similar events organised by project partners, and through literary magazines in the partner countries.


1. Literature Across Frontiers (LAF)

2. German Book Office (GBO)

3. French Book Office

4. Pro Helvetia – Swiss Arts Council

5. The British Council

6. Sangam House

7. Prakriti Foundation

8. Open Space

9. Siyahi