Poetry at the Post: The Travels of an Accordion

Урок по акордеон * by Alice-Catherine Jennings, as translated from the English by Dimana Ivanova

Те се вмъкнаха в ретро колата и седнаха на предните й места.

Това беше времето, което прекарваха заедно всяка

Oaxaca skyline photo credit: John Jennings
Oaxaca skyline
photo credit: John Jennings

To see your work in print in your own language is pretty great but to see it transformed into another language is totally awesome.

“Accordion Lesson” began as a response to a  prompt: ‘Write something from your childhood.” Uh oh! I really did not want to walk down the stairs to that dark basement of memories yet I felt committed to the exercise.

In Oaxaca, Mexico to study Spanish, I was feeling removed from my life in the States, and even more so from my life as a child growing up in Ohio. I was stumped. One morning on my way to the university, I found a connection—the acordeonistas of Oaxaca.

Yes, I admit it. I played an accordion as a child—for about 5 years. My accordion was big, emerald green with a tiny diamond in the center to  mark the middle C. I was a tall, skinny kid and the accordion overwhelmed my body.

My green accordion has traveled far via this poem—from Oaxaca to publication in Ireland and south to Bratislava, where my translator, Dimana Ivanova, currently lives.  Dimana, is not only a scholar and translator but also a poet. Here are the opening lines of her lovely poem “Come.” You can find the full poem is on her website. 

Come by Dimana Ivanova

Translated from Bulgarian by Katerina Stoykova-Klemer

Come and enter my soft sorrow,

with a velvet tail of silver!

Enter me like a gray fox,

enter and run tenderly on my flesh,

*”Accordion Lesson” was first published in Boyne Berries,  March 2014

Accordion Lesson by Alice-Catherine Jennings

They slip into the front seat of the station

wagon. This is their time together

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