Translator’s Note

Sarah Stickney

Every poem generates its own weather. Reading a poem is like standing at the window observing the atmosphere. But translating a poem is like standing outside in its weather. In Hajdari's poems, clouds gather and it often rains. It seems to me, in fact, that the poems are located “here in rain’s homeland,” as he says at the beginning of one.


I have learned a lot about rain’s homeland by standing in Hajdari’s wet weather. Rain falls everywhere and covers everything, but it has no permanence, just as the exile fleeing his country passes through many lands but calls none of them home. Rain can be mournful, but it is also reflective. It provides a kind of solace. Translating Hajdari’s poems provides me with the same quiet relief that I feel when a rainy day grants me respite from the hustle. They help me listen for what is quiet and still. And water, though it takes the shape of whatever it sits on, is strong enough to wear away stone.

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