In October in Córdoba, Spain, it was my huge pleasure to read on the closing night of the Cosmopoética poetry festival, whose theme in 2019 was ‘God Save the Poetry’, honouring British poets. The city was full of posters and murals advertising the event. Lines from featured poets even appeared on serviettes in some cafes and restaurants.
My most exciting task was translating my National Poetry Competition poem ‘Do not indulge indigo into Spanish. The first hiccup started when I realised the word añil would be needed instead of indigo which, although used, is much less common. This immediately threw all the words beginning with ‘ind’ in the last lines of the poem.
To have, then, the opportunity to read the poem in Spanish was the next challenge. I practised many times on my own and also with an encouraging and supportive teacher from a local language school. With a mouth dry from nerves and a portable head microphone which I’d never used before , I stepped on stage – to a thankfully appreciative audience!