- Georgia -
Diana Anphimiadi (Anthimiadou) is a poet, writer, linguist and pedagogue. She was born in 1982 in Tbilisi, Georgia.Graduated from Ivane Javakhishvili State University with specialty of Georgian languages with MA in General Linguistics. She works on her PhD in the same university in comparative and corpus linguistic. Diana actively collaborates with educational and literature periodicals. She is an author of five poetry collections, two prosaic books and one children’s book. She researches Georgian gastronomy, gastro-linguistic, culinary and ethnic culture, works in the educational field, writes articles on school system, inclusive education and about Autism language.
Diana has received number of awards for her literary work, her debut poetry collection was awarded with “Saba” in 2009 among them, in 2016 she received Vakhushti Kotetishvili prize for the best poetry translation of the year. In 2018 her book TALES WRITTEN IN A DRAWING ALBUM got Iakob Gogebashvili Award for Children’s and Youth Literature.
Her poetry collections of poetry are titled: Chocolate (2008, Siesta publishing house); Resumé of Mythology (2009, Saunje); Trajectory of the Short-Sighted (2010, Saunje); Cutting the Shadow (2015, Intelekti Publishing).
Diana’s works are translated in Russian, English, German, French, Czech, Polish, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Greek and Armenian languages and poems are included in many poetry anthologies. Her full poetry collections are published in Austria and The UK.
In 2022 The Guardian named her bilingual edition Why I No Longer Write Poems (translated by Natalia Bukia-Peters and Jean Sprackland, Bloodaxe) in their list of “the best recent poetry – review roundup”, calling it “gorgeous, fabulising verse”.
The Accused / დამნაშავე
This man’s accused of dying.
He died in a dishevelled bed,
his head lolling to one side and, oh my God,
he died with his mouth hanging open. Shame on him.
He didn’t get round to tidying his room,
and left the dishes dirty.
Imagine, even his ashtrays are overflowing with dog ends.
Oh, and those shelves are thick with dust.
He forgot to erase the photos on his phone,
and, this is awkward to mention,
some of those messages.
How could he just die like that, naked?
How utterly disrespectful.
Shame on him.
He didn’t make amends to his girlfriend,
nor pay his debts,
or sort out his credit or loans.
He still owes his neighbour for repairing the lift
and the lock on the door to the block.
He could at least have got his washing done,
and when it was dry, taken it in off the line.
He failed to climb the ladder in his profession,
he didn’t attract investment in a start-up,
never became a blogger or an influencer.
How could bring himself to die like this?
What will people think?
Why isn’t he ashamed?
He could at least have had a shave
and run a comb through his hair before he died,
beaten and in pain,
alone at night.Translated by Natalia Bukia-Peters and Victoria Field
Good Friday / წითელი პარასკევი
A boy of 13’s bag – pens, exercise books, a thousand odds and ends,
A boy of 13’s book – notes, doodles, authors’ ridiculous moustaches,
A boy of 13’s white T-shirt – some clever slogan, a favourite footballer,
A boy of 13’s room – jumbled, clothes heaped on a chair, chocolate wrappers under the bed, crisp crumbs on the desk,
A boy of 13’s online profile – games, unanswered messages written to a high-school girl
A boy of 13’s jacket pockets – you’ll find everything you weren’t looking for,
A boy of 13’s heart – full of fear, of love, of complexes,
A boy of 13’s face – nose a little biggish, breakouts here and there,
A boy of 13’s shoes – worn-out, a little warped, having walked far and wide,
A boy of 13’s hair – a little overgrown, ruffled,
A boy of 13’s head – bursting with a thousand worries.
A boy of 13’s cap
A boy of 13’s cap
A boy of 13’s capTranslated by Leigh Morris
Mariupol / მარიუპოლი
–My form teacher from primary school
–The flower seller from the street nextdoor
–The cellist girl with the sore shoulder
–My first love
–The nextdoor neighbour’s three kids
–They survived the danger.
–The bun baker whose vatrushki I bought for my breakfast
–The neighbour’s boy who listens to loud music
–Blown up by a mine
–The green-eyed girl who quietly wrote poems
–Whose voice can be heard from the rubble?
–He died, no sign of the body.
–Yes, but in black smoke
–They won’t be bornTranslated by Leigh Morris
War / ომი
A chair falls asleep, then an armchair, a map, a table,
a shiny stone in a broken hairclip,
note in a notebook and mini-essay
(the one I promised to finish by tomorrow)
and all the monsters in books fall asleep too.
Not even the whispers of parents can be heard.
Only my adored wool doll stays awake.
It's not a big deal that she lies next to me, quietly, obediently.
Not a big deal that I cover her with my blanket,
that she was fed porridge, given milk, had her face washed.
She doesn't take her eyes off me.
She stares and her stare is strict and scratchy.
During the day she's an ordinary doll with a plump tummy.
I sing to her, kiss her, wash her and change her dresses,
cut her nails and hair with scissors when they grow.
It doesn't matter if I've grown up, I am not bored.
During the day she's an ordinary doll
but at night she needs my body
and I change radically,
a girl from a shelter
who flies away
without her favourite doll
who can't take her tiny slippers with her
or anything else
because her father blew it up.
Her father blew it up.Translated by Natalia Bukia-Peters and Dr. Alyson Hallett
Editing / რედაქტირება
I imagined I died in childbirth.
There's nothing a woman can't imagine
if she finds time for boredom.
I was alive when they cut my stomach open
and dead when they sewed it up:
in a nutshell, I died in labour.
My child grows somewhere.
No one teaches her to read and write
or shows her how to blow her nose
so when she sniffs or cries
she wipes it straight on her wrist.
There's a snail's footprint on her collar,
another close to her eye.
Fingernails so black
it's as if she's dug her mother's grave.
I imagined I died in childbirth.
Doctors panicked -
one trying to restart my heart
another writing notes when I stopped it beating
and someone yelling
edit the text
- edit it!Translated by Natalia Bukia-Peters and Dr. Alyson Hallett
Snow Town / თოვლი ქალაქში
It's not snowing in town,
roofs are heavy with no snow
unfallen flakes melt on heads and coats.
I greedily inhale non-snow, non-sparkling air.
Have I lost my gloves?
Did I leave them somewhere?
It isn't snowing in town, the traffic's heavy,
no end to the sluggish stream
of un-snowed cars, the situation's alarming,
a million or more eyes fixed to the sky -
will it or won't it snow?
The sky has moved away from the earth
and it's not snowing in town – children play with stone-balls
and Christ will cure their fractured foreheads.
How many dawns without snow?
It's snowing in town and
it's not snow, flakes, snowflakes that fall.
The road home is clear, a path is paved.
It's good, you don't need snow to make a path
but I can't see my footprints on tarmac,
can't see or read my footprints -
would they be visible in snow?
Am I lost?
Have I died?
It's not snowing in the town.Translated by Natalia Bukia-Peters and Dr. Alyson Hallett
Conspiracy theory / შეთქმულების თეორია
Children don’t exist,
in reality it’s an optical illusion
– when you look through a teardrop,
everything seems tiny and pretty,
they don’t exist, it’s the greatest lie of all,
fabricated by grown-ups,
somehow to justify their devious plan –
as if someone is hungry, as if someone is scared,
as if someone’s cheeks redden in the cold.
They don’t exist; justify for some other reason
a life-like plastic iron,
a life-like toy poodle,
nibbled strawberries from gateaux
gluey caramel in teeth.
Children don’t exist,
Builders build people,
they can be put anywhere now,
a permit is no longer needed,
they build, nonstop they build,
in a million books you see the plan and diagrams,
the materials are also available.
They build and make stand, they too are standing,
they evade storms of deadlines,
they shrivel in the burning heat of taxes,
they stand in the life-like rain
in the life-like snow,
they stand and stand,
they thaw, flow, recede,
they sit on their own laps
and in a shrill, sweet, pining voice
‘Mummy, buy me a raspberry Chupa Chups,
Mummy, buy me a raspberry Chupa Chups,
Mummy, please buy me’
Children don’t exist, it’s a lie,
how could it be in the real world
that children really did exist?Translated by Leigh Morris
Incident / შემთხვევა
Sundays I walk with a shadow child.
The weather's good - the sun, the rain,
I exaggerate an eyelash shadow, make it sharp.
The shadow child runs away. I catch it up. I run away, it catches me.
It's stubborn, sometimes it lies down
in the road and lets cars drive over its heart.
It won't sit on the swing, prefers to stand,
the wind tousles its hair then whips
it into a frenzy.
It stumbled, fell down and I scooped it up.
I'm protecting it from tarmac
so it won't bleed to death
won't disappear or turn into water.
I blew air on its knee,
Sunday we walk,
the weather's sunny and bright.
The shortening shadow's like water poured close
to the feet.
I'm scared it will disappear,
scared when I look at the sun,
eternal helper of all shadow mothers.
It elongates in the evening and stretches towards a dark corner.
It wants to sleep, it's time for children to sleep,
for shadows to sleep.
I bring it to your house.
She gathered light and shade today
which she splashed into my eyes.
Here's your shadow,
it ran, it's tired - I bring it to you, hand it over -
let it rest well, I say, put it into your bed
and if a rustling curtain frightens it in the night
put the warm palm of your hand
to where her heart used to be.Translated by Natalia Bukia-Peters and Dr. Alyson Hallett
Truth / სიმართლე
Once upon a time someone said a poem
and the entire secret disappeared.
persimmon lanterns burned
dandelion heads scattered.
There was no magic -
how can you believe in magic
when everything's so simplified?
The poem produced a true
text-book version of Autumn.
It was real, very real, super real
with zero deviations
of grammar or style.
God was wretched.
He gathered a banal bouquet
of red and yellow leaves.
Everything was solved immediately
when someone began a poem
'This May, This June, This July...'Translated by Natalia Bukia-Peters and Dr. Alyson Hallett