• Fri. Jun 2nd, 2023


Read the World Today

Local Poet and Translator Yvette Neisser Talks Transformation and Community


Apr 13, 2023

Yvette Neisser is an award-prevailing poet and translator. A fixture withinside the neighborhood literary scene seeing that 2000, she is an organizer, a author and, further to writing and translating quite a few poetry collections, Neisser is likewise the founding father of the DC-Area Literary Translators Network, a set that meets month-to-month for readings, workshops, lectures, and conferences.

Neisser`s most modern poetry collection, Iron into Flower, posted in October 2022 with Finishing Line Press, is a lovely manuscript of narrative exploration. Sometimes whimsical, different instances heartbroken through the arena and its trajectory, those poems stay each assured and accessible. Neisser is a poet who is aware the vulnerability in simplicity, in warding off the ornate, and every segment of the ee-e book resonates due to her easy traces and specific breaks.

Iron into Flower is a set of memories-in-poems, which dive into loss and reflection, boom and recovery. By the end, we’re modified with the poet-protagonist.

You`d suppose not anything ought to penetrate

that bark, silvered and stable as a wall—

but flora burst

directly from the trunk:

first a tiny shoot,

a sprig of buds,

then bouquets of blossoms.


City Paper spoke with Neisser approximately her new collection, her paintings with the DC-Area Literary Translators Network, and the evolving D.C. literary scene.

Washington City Paper: Tell us approximately Iron into Flower.

Yvette Neisser: For me, the name Iron into Flower represents transformation—each literal and metaphorical. At the literal level, it’s miles the fabulous transformation of bark into blossom—see the poem “YOSHINO CHERRY”—and at a metaphorical level, the transformation of private and cultural identities. For example, the poems discover the shift in a woman`s identification after divorce, from wife/mom to “fireball”—see “DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE FROM MY FORMER SELF.” I suppose the name additionally resonates with the writing of poetry itself—the warfare of taking a tough enjoy and making it bloom in lovely language.

WCP: Your narrative fashion makes your poems so accessible. Beautiful, with such movement, those memories in verse! How do you method writing poetry? Do you reflect onconsideration on the tale first? Or do you start with shape or imagery?

YN: Each poem comes approximately in a exclusive way. Sometimes it begins offevolved with an photograph, a memory, or a feeling. Sometimes it could be an commentary of nature, artwork, or present day occasions. For example, “Dayenu” changed into sparked through the battle among Israel and Hamas in 2021. “Tea” changed into a meditation on my grandmother`s lifelong obsession with tea drinking.

Once I even have the photograph or spark of an idea, I awareness on growing the trajectory of the poem—the arc of the poem from begin to finish. Usually this indicates writing the entirety that involves thoughts with none filtering. And this is the primary draft. Often, I don`t recognize what the poem is simply going to be approximately till I begin writing it.

Then in revision, I awareness on honing the language and chiseling—reducing useless words, traces. Usually, the shape emerges on this stage, once I see how the traces obviously organization themselves into stanzas, or wherein a pause is needed.

WCP: You`re the founding father of the DC-Area Literary Translators Network. Can you inform us a bit approximately that paintings?

YN: Yes! As a poet and lover of languages—Spanish, Hebrew, Arabic—I suppose literary translation is the pleasant issue seeing that sliced bread. When I started severely translating poetry—my first ee-e book of translations from Spanish got here out in 2009—I felt a preference to percentage this new ardour with fellow translators. So I reached out to all of the translators I knew, and in 2012 we started assembly month-to-month to talk about translation troubles and percentage our paintings. We additionally invited speakers—each neighborhood and from out of town—to offer their books in translation.

Over time, we accelerated our sports to accomplice with different groups to similarly our project of selling the artwork of literary translation withinside the extra D.C. region. Ongoing partnerships encompass the yearly Confluence translation convention held at 1st viscount montgomery of alamein College and the yearly translation analyzing with the Café Muse analyzing series. DC-ALT is also a neighborhood associate of the American Literary Translators Association.

Since the pandemic, DC-ALT has shifted to ordinarily on-line occasions. Every different month, we host a application offering translators, typically from exclusive languages, on Zoom, accompanied through active discussion. Occasionally we preserve in-individual translators` glad hours. All those occasions are open to the public. For extra info, see our website.

WCP: What are your mind at the D.C. literary scene? How has it modified—and/or how has your very own writing modified—due to the pandemic?

YN: One of the motives I even have stayed withinside the region for goodbye is the noticeably supportive and lively neighborhood writersnetwork. In a metropolis wherein the expert and political worlds may be fiercely competitive, there's a remarkable loss of competitiveness amongst writers. We inspire every different and have fun every differents accomplishments. Furthermore—earlier than the pandemic—you can discover a poetry analyzing someplace withinside the region each night time of the year.

This year, I`ve been extremely joyful in order to begin attending readings in individual again. Over 20-plus years, that is how I even have advanced and sustained my very own network of writers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *