L A U R A F U S C O
Translated by Caroline Maldonado
Laura Fusco’s writing is impelled by her commitment to human rights and is expressed through performance of various kinds, o en in collaboration with musicians and dancers. She sees herself writing and performing in the tradition of the bard who gives voice to the unheard. These three poems are taken from a forthcoming collection, Liminal, to be published in English translation from the original Italian in April 2020 by Smokestack Books. It is a scrapbook of stories, graffi ti and placards, songs of exile and songs against exile, a book about learning to live outside and between borders, stateless and homeless, invisible and unheard, marginal. In it Laura Fusco records the voices of refugees arriving in Europe, particularly through the Mediterranean via Italy and France, from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries from which they are forcibly displaced. She especially seeks out the voices of women she has met in camps along the way.
When I read the original version of Limbo I was struck by the intimacy and urgency of the many voices which work together almost as one immense chorus. The accretion of voices and physical details from the refugees’ environment give the reader a sense of everything being close and in the present and yet part of a terrible and universal odyssey.
Fusco’s lines are open and sometimes barely punctuated, seemingly without end, mirroring the endless migratory movement of their subject ma er, and at some points they become fragmentary, separated by gaps. I aimed to catch their tone, rhythm and breath, when necessary searching for equivalencies of sound in English. Only when I’d read the texts aloud again and again could I judge whether they approached the eff ect of the original.
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