Huan He
The night rests                   in a dust bed, hushed asleep despite the dull thud                   of Nakaya cutting firewood, a lullaby in a dream                   in a wish.
from the book Sandman / Diode Editions

What Sparks Poetry is a serialized feature in which we invite poets to explore experiences and ideas that spark new poems. 

In our series focused on Translation, we invite poet-translators to share seminal experiences in their practices, bringing poems from one language into another. How does the work of translating feel essential to the writing of one’s own poetry? Our contributors reflect on inspiring moments as intricate as a grammatical quirk and as wide-ranging as the history or politics of another place. 

Andrew Zawacki on Sébastien Smirou's "The Lion"
Photo: Andrew Zawacki
Hannah Sullivan
Antsy on the windows, in the heat, An uncertain hosanna. It is hard to say if there is progress in history.
Allison Adelle Hedge Coke
                       Orion hovering eastward       drawn, readied. Someone slinks past doorjamb                          each choke hold felled       vaporizes      cognizance.
Gabrielle Bates
I could imagine a version of our lives in which he kept all his suffering secret from me.
Sébastien Smirou (translated from the French by Andrew Zawacki)
these psychedelic dreams where I’m zoomorphic—must discuss relaxed along the field I give the feeling of a feeling worth two cents I charge as usual blood rush my head spinning I trigger a sort of revolution—better see about that.

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