Yasmine Seale and Robin Moger on Co-translating Ibn Arabi

If you’re in London on October 19, re-arrange your schedule to attend “Unreckoned Things: Collaboration, Experiment and Voice in Translation,” with celebrity translators Yasmine Seale and Robin Moger:

There will be two components:

Workshop: 14:30 – 18:00, Keynes Library, Birkbeck College, University of London, 43 Gordon Square

Public Reading and Discussion: 19:00 -20:15, Room 116, SOAS, University of London

Robin Moger is a translator of Arabic to English and the force behind qisasukhra.wordpress.com; his most recent translations include a spate of remarkable texts: How To Mend by Iman Mersal, The Law of Inheritance by Yasser Abdellatif, and Haytham Al Wardani’s The Book of SleepYasmine Seale is an innovative writer and translator from Arabic and French who brings a joyful experimentalism and love of words to translating Arabic poetry. Her first translated book, Aladdin, will be published in November 2018.

Together they are working on an experimental translation of Ibn Arabi’s cycle of odes, The Interpreter of Desires. You can read from the work they’re doing together on Youssef Rakha’s Cosmopolitan Hotel. There, for instance, read Poem 55, which emerged from a correspondence in translations between Seale and Moger. As it says on the site: “The first two translations are made independently and each subsequent rendering written after the other’s previous version has been sent and seen.”

According to Moger, the two poet-translators “will be presenting their correspondence-in-translations of poems from Ibn Arabi’s Tarjuman Al Ashwaq, as well as projects of their own, to discuss the process of translation in terms of communion and distance, frustration and aspiration, constraint and freedom, and of voices lost and made.”

They will also be reading from their translation of Poem 10, and their collaborative, shifting, creative translation is a thing to see. Although other language pairings have a long relationship with experimental translations, this is new to Arabic and English.

For those who can’t attend, there will be, God willing, post-event coverage.