from "There where it’s so bright in me" by Tanella Boni, translated by Todd Fredson

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September 1, 2022 

from “There where it’s so bright in me”

Tanella Boni
translated by Todd Fredson

Do I want to be part of this world
Do I want to sleep soundly
Do I want to keep living
Soul tranquil heart serene

The worm’s in the fruit
From the start of time
Humanity’s truth is elsewhere
Here maybe
Written on skin
As if life preferred
Only a single color
In a world so diverse

The pigmentation of the skin
Requires an understanding
That continually eludes
It happens in your head

The threat
Like a flame tree
Blossoming in the shadow of the mind

 


 

extrait de «Là où il fait si clair en moi» 

 

Ai-je envie de faire partie de ce monde
Ai-je envie de dormir à poings fermés
Ai-je envie de continuer à vivre
L’âme tranquille le cœur serein

Le ver est dans le fruit
Depuis toujours
La vérité de l’humanité est ailleurs
Ici-même
Inscrite sur la peau de couleur
Comme si la vie ne possédait
Qu’une seule couleur
Dans un monde si divers

La pigmentation de la peau
Échappe aux cloisons
De votre entendement
C’est dans la tête que ça se passe

La menace
Comme un flamboyant en fleurs
S’épanouit à l’ombre de l’esprit.

Copyright © 2022 by Tanella Boni and Todd Fredson. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 1, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

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“The expression ‘this world’ introduces the dilemma in the first line. This world is not welcoming; one cannot live there safely and happily. For many people, such as myself, living at home can become difficult for social, political, or other reasons. When one emigrates to the West and elsewhere, it is also difficult to find a place where one can live happily. A happy and peaceful life in the world is not given to everyone. The question of the other and of the foreigner is an urgent one. In the minds of many, to be Black or a person of color is to be a lesser human, or not human.”
Tanella Boni, translated by Todd Fredson

Tanella Boni is a poet, novelist, essayist, and philosopher. The author of more than twenty books, including There where it’s so bright in me (University of Nebraska Press, 2022), translated by Todd Fredson, she has received prizes from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization; the Geneva International Book and Press Fair; and L’Académie Française.

Todd Fredson is the author of Century Worm (New Issues Press, 2018) and Crucifix-Blocks (Tebot Bach, 2012), winner of the 2011 Patricia Bibby First Book Award. His work has been supported by the Fulbright Program and the National Endowment for the Arts, among other organizations. 

There where it’s so bright in me
(University of Nebraska Press, 2022)

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Thanks to Cynthia Hogue, author of In June the Labyrinth (Red Hen Press, 2017), who curated Poem-a-Day for this month’s weekdays. Read or listen to a Q&A about Hogue’s curatorial approach and find out more about our guest editors for the year
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