David Baker
We came to the island. We stayed in the house. Rain and sun. Bougainvillea. Pink cedar. How many shadows slipped along walls or whetted the leaves of century plants?
from the book Swift: New and Selected Poems / W. W. Norton & Company

What Sparks Poetry is a serialized feature in which we invite poets to explore experiences and ideas that spark new poems. 

In our current series, What Translation Sparks, we’ve asked a group of poet-translators to share a seminal experience in translation. How does the work of translating poetry feel essential to the writing of one’s own poetry? Our contributors reflect on inspiring moments as intricate as a grammatical quirk and as wide-ranging the history or politics of another place.

Dan Beachy-Quick on "Alcman 89"
Photo: Dan Beachy-Quick
Alcman (translated from the Greek by Dan Beachy-Quick)
They are sleeping, mountain-heads, headlands, and the gullies, too— the fallen leaves and the tribe of slow-footed creatures the dark earth grows—
Luisa Muradyan
Or as every other late 80s action hero my mother successfully jumping off of a skyscraper onto another skyscraper my mother hunting the Predator with a cigar lodged in her mouth my mother saying sonofabitch in the coolest way imaginable
Joy Priest
how long we done lived—                                                                us-folk, for whom heaven is live                                broadcast. our down-at-the-heel place. filthy &                                    barefoot.

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