Translating poetry

Lesley Saunders interviewed by Martin Kratz

In this exclusive interview for E: SF, poet and translator Lesley Saunders discusses the translating the work of Maria Teresa Horta, a Portuguese writer, journalist and poet, born in Lisbon in 1937, and known for her fascinating and provocative writing, in times where freedom of speech was heavily censured. In 1972, along with Maria Velho da Costa and Maria Isabel Barreno (they were known as “As Três Marias”, The Three Marias), she published the controversial book, Novas Cartas Portuguesas (New Portuguese Letters). This book challenged the moral authority of the regime in the 1970s and was declared ‘pornographic and offensive for public morality’. It has since become considered the revolutionary text of Portuguese feminism of the 20th century. The book consists of letters, essays, poems, and fragments that portray Portuguese society, and more specifically the condition of women in Portugal. The Three Marias’ collective part in changing the lives of Portuguese women for the better, remains imbedded in the nation’s history.

Photo of Martin KratzMartin Kratz is a poet, multilinguist and co-editor of Mount London (Penned in the Margins). He currently works in poetry projects at Manchester Poetry Library at Manchester Metropolitan University, specialising in poetry and the acquisition of languages. Kratz was awarded the Rosamund Prize 2011 (with Leo Geyer), Janet Beer Prize for Outstanding Contribution to the Life of the Manchester Writing School 2013, Philip Bates Prize for Composers and Songwriters 2013 (with Leo Geyer), and was shortlisted for BBC Next Generation Thinkers. He was awarded a PhD on the poetics of touch in Michael Symmons Roberts in 2016 and has subsequently continued his collaborative work in opera with composer Leo Geyer. His work has been widely published in poetry magazines and received the Highly Commended Forward prize from Forward Magazine in 2015.

Some of Martin’s poetry is available to read at

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