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Yairen Jerez Columbié

Translator’s Note: Matthew Geden

These translations have emerged from an ongoing collaboration with poet Matthew Geden. I met Matthew at a multilingual poetry translation workshop facilitated by poet-translator Keith Payne at the Cork City Library in the spring of 2022. Matthew’s modesty and unhurried conversation style could not hide his erudition and knowledge of texts, including those beyond the anglophone world. My first contact with his work, through the poems included in the chapbook Fruit (SurVision Books, 2020), revealed an equally meditative and well-travelled poetic voice. Matthew’s most recent collection, The Cloud Architect (Doire Press, 2022), was about to be published, and I felt lucky to have met him at such a good time.

As a poet-translator himself, Matthew has a unique ability to listen, embody and reimagine poetry. An exploration of our place in nature informs the work of both poet and translator, and often takes us back to the sea and its life-supporting ecosystems. In the process of mutually translating our poems, we have identified shared themes, imagined worlds, and even titles that were already present in our texts before working together. Matthew Geden’s poetry moves and breathes like a living creature. I have been fortunate to work closely with the poet on these translations, and to learn from his ability to make poetry part of nature.

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