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.

Margaret Noodin on "Faoiseamh a Gheobhadsa"
Photo: Margaret Noodin
Robert Cording
After our son died, my wife found him in coincidences—sightings of hawks, mostly, at the oddest of times and places, and then in a pair of redtails that took up residence, nesting in a larch above our barn, and how their low, frequent sweeps just a few feet above us before rising over our kitchen roof made it seem as if they were looking in on us.
Derrick Austin
I can’t imagine myself reading bedtime stories to a toddler, and I’m older than my father was when he read those brightly colored books to me.
Máirtín Ó Direáin (translated from the Irish into Ojibwe & English by Margaret Noodin)
I will find Solace A short while only Among relatives Without sorrow Without mind worry Without loneliness Without confusion In the west
Sarah J. Sloat

An erasure from Sarah J. Sloat's book of visual poetry, Hotel Almighty.

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