On the Border of Conflict

Wednesday, 24th August 2022 at 19:30 | Theatre, Spazju Kreattiv, Valletta

This is a discussion moderated by James Debono from MaltaToday with a panel of three of the invited authors of the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival – Adrian Grima (🇲🇹Malta), Julia Musakovska (🇺🇦Ukraine) and Lamis Saidi (🇩🇿Algeria).

The discussion will evolve on how conflict influences a language and its literature.

Prior to this discussion, a short interview between David Schembri and 𝗝𝗮𝗰𝗼𝗯𝗼 𝗕𝗲𝗿𝗴𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗰𝗵𝗲, the Spanish award winner of the EU Prize for Literature will be held.

Entrance is free.

All photos by Virginia Monteforte for Inizjamed

Translating “Metaphors” and other poems by Julia Musakovska

In the picture above I’m reading “Metafori,” my Maltese version of the poem by Julia Musakovska, “Такі незручні, такі страшні вірші…” during the discussion “On the Border of Conflict” at Spazju Kreattiv on 24th August 2022. I wrote my version after reading a translation from Ukrainian into English by Anatoly Kudryavitsky, discussing it at length with the poet, and listening to hear read it in Ukrainian. “Metaphors” was written on 31.03.2022, a month after the start of the full scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Julia told me that poems in Ukrainian don’t have titles and they are identified by the first line.

Julia republished the photo of my reading of “Metafori” on her social media with this note: “Adrian Grima, a poet from Malta and the “father” of the Mediterranean Literary Festival, reads my poem “Metaphors”/“Такі незручні, такі страшні вірші…” in his translation to Maltese.”

This was my reply: “Over the past week at the Malta Mediterraneean Literature Festival I’ve had the honour and the privilege to listen to your poetry in Ukrainian, Julia, to read it in English, to discuss its many shades and hues with you, and to render it in Maltese, with your voice, your emotions still ringing in my ears. Thank you so much for sharing your poetry and the determination of the Ukrainian people with us, Julia.”

Julia Muskovska and Marichka Shtyrbulova on stage on August 27, 2022
Marichka Shtyrbulova on stage at the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival on August 27, 2022

Two other Maltese versions I made of poems by Julia Musakovska, “Bundle of Grief” and “Holes” were included in the performance she gave on stage at the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival in Fort St Elmo, Valletta, on Saturday August 27, 2022, with the Ukrainian actress, Marichka Shtyrbulova. She travelled from Kyiv to Malta through Warsaw in order to take part in this performance with Julia.

On stage, Marichka Shtyrbulova, was amazing. So expressive, so sharp, so powerful, so intense. And the music was sublime, as were the visuals. It was great performance, sublime. Julia told me afterwards that she also thought Marichka was wonderful. “s”She took my poetry very close to her heart and basically lived through it on stage. I love how she carries the ancient Ukrainian folk song tradition. Her friends from Kyiv put together the musical part of the show.”

Here’s a snippet of the reading by Marichka’s voice and the powerful music that accompanies the words.

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