To the Wind Our Sails: Irish Writers Translate Galician Poetry

The best writing from Galicia’s outstanding contemporary women poets awaits the reader of To the Winds Our Sails. Co-edited by Irish poet Mary O’Donnell and Galician scholar Manuela Palacios, this anthology offers a unique insight into the imaginative, social, ecological and personal preoccupations with which Galician poets have engaged in recent decades. Ten poets ranging in age, experience and style, are represented with five translations each. An interesting feature of this anthology is that each Galician writer has selected one poem to be rendered in the Irish language. This approach attempts to represent the cultural and linguistic concerns which Ireland and Galicia have shared historically.

“To the Winds Our Sails is a vibrant and moving homage to what can be found in translation. In the journey across languages, the poets bring to the reader the intensity, depth, capacity for surprise and engagement that has been a signal feature of the writings of Galician women poets.  The collection bears eloquent witness to translation as the supreme art of discovery and contains vivid and memorable recastings of the persuasive force of the Galician originals. To the Winds Our Sails is an invitation to journey to worlds without ends.”

Michael Cronin,  Centre for Translation and Textual Studies, Dublin City University

“Galicia has long been seen as our distant, neglected overseas cousin and this anthology brings her poetry into our house for the first time, bright-voiced and strangely familiar. In it we see our own geography and obsessions reflected and enhanced. But there are new things too which emerge from this encounter between poets in three languages, which enrich us and make the familiar strange. Sailing above the clashing tides of discourse and identity, the translators here, like the cormorants on patrol in Maria Lado’s poem, locate the pure voices of poetry and ‘lash them to the land with invisible ropes.’ “

Michael O’Loughlin

Salmon Poetry 2010