Poetry translation winner announced

Coyau / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

The winner of our “Creative Corona” poetry translation competition is Martina Ní Mheachair for her English version of  Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhaigh’s poem, “einín/francach”.   She is a UCC alumna and is currently a research fellow at the Sabhal Mòr Ostaig University in Scotland.

The competition attracted 40 entries and Ailbhe,  who adjudicated the competition, was very impressed by the high standard of the translations. “It was a pleasure to read the various interpretations of “einín/francach,” she said.  

But what impressed her about “bird/rat”, the winning entry, was its handling of competing elements. “A translator of poetry has to wrestle with content, tone and form, all the while  wavering between faithfulness and flair. While many of the entries were strong on fidelity or ingenuity, the winning translation balanced these elements with commendable elegance.”

Dr Ní Mheachair will win E100 and a copy of Ailbhe’s latest volume, a bilingual collection entitled, The Coast Road, from Gallery Press. 

Two runner-up places were also awarded to Laura Ryan and Joanne McCarthy, who will each receive copies of Ailbhe’s book.

The competition was run in conjunction with “Creative Corona” an online platform that ran throughout April on this site – http://creativewritingucc.com/www/creative-corona-day-1/  –  with selected writings from students, graduates and writers associated with the MA in Creative Writing at UCC.  

Here is the  winning entry: 

bird / rat

starting in the bush is that a bird – or a rat

a staycation or internment being stuck in the flat

will the sea continue to ebb and to flow

will we ever see the summer’s glow

had you best cover your face to show compassion

is it true that face masks are now the fashion

do you listen to buds as they bloom

are you obsessed with the latest from the newsroom

have you brought with you your ration book

will you share with me what you cook

your next-door neighbours, are you able to say

if they’re flouting regulations night and day

avoid the old, beware your nephew and niece,

careful now of this fragile peace

dancing at home to blinding lights

numbers of patients reaching new heights

have you Insta‘d your sourdough with a grin

and  practised yoga for a personal win

does the anxiety manifest as a weight in your chest

are you ready for the disaster with which we’ll contest

was Chicken Licken right after all

or is the sky not going to fall

– o creature, o man, will you be my downfall?

Martina  Mheachair


éinín / francach


an éinín atá ag bíogadh sa sceach – nó francach

an staycation é seo nó tamall sa charcair

an leanfaidh an mhuir ag tuilleadh is ag trá

an gcífear go brách an samhradh bán

an fearr do ghnúis a chumhdach feasta

an bhfuil masc aghaidhe anois sa bhfaisean

an éisteann tú le bachlóga ag péacadh

bhfuilir gafa le bratbhuamáil an nuachta

ar thug tú leat do leabhar ciondála

an roinnfeá liom sciar den cháca

an dream béal dorais, ar thugais faoi deara

iad ag sárú rialacha oíche is maidin

seachain seanóirí agus seachain aosánaigh

fainic anois an tsíocháin bhradach

sáil agus barraicín timpeall an tí

bardaí an ospidéil ag cur thar maoil

bhfuil pictiúr den sourdough in airde ar Insta

is do chleachtas ióga ina údar gaisce

an luíonn an imní mar ualach ar d’ucht

bhfuilir ullamh don tubaiste atá le teacht

an raibh an ceart ag cearc an phrompa

nó an bhfanfaidh an spéir in airde tamall eile

– agus an baol dom thú a chréatúir, a dhuine?

Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh