‘In Which Language to Write’ by Odete Semedo (tr. Alejandro Aguilar)

a nutshell: alternating between languages, these poems reflect Semedo’s dislocating experience of living in both Portuguese and Guinea-Bissau Creole (‘Criollo’)

a line: “But what signs to leave | The grandchildren of this century?”

an image: the poet declares that she’ll leave a message on parchment in this Portuguese language that she misunderstands

a thought: I found it interesting how most of the verses are formed of questions (not statements) – such as whether the poet will talk in Portuguese despite it denying her art or muse, which led me to learn from Wiki that Guinea-Bissau Creole is the country’s language of informal literature

a fact: born in 1959, Semedo went on to assume prominent roles including Minister of National Education and Minister of Health

want to read ‘In Which Language to Write’? visit here

3 thoughts on “‘In Which Language to Write’ by Odete Semedo (tr. Alejandro Aguilar)

  1. Fascinating this, for multilingual people, certain words, phrases, suit certain moods and feelings better, irrespective of the language, I imagine. Whilst my second language is learnt as an adult, and I don’t have that deep feel for it, I did once find myself writing a bilingual poem, which I liked doing. (It wasn’t very good, but gave me a tiny, small, beginning of an inkling of what the author here was thinking, although without the essential struggling between a ‘true’ language and a bigger, dominate one, like here); Very interesting anyway, and you can see it has got me thinking!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad Semedo’s poetry got you thinking! You’ve also inspired me to have a go at writing a bilingual poem (Welsh/English) which I’ve never done before – I’ve always written in one or the other. Thanks for your wonderfully insightful comment as ever! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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