Eleni Cay is a Slovakian-born poet living in the UK. Her poems are widely published in anthologies and translated into French and German, and appear in UK poetry magazines such as Acumen, Atticus Review and Envoi. Her award-winning collection of Slovak poems A Butterfly’s Trembling in the Digital Age was translated by John Minahane and published by Parthian Books in 2017. She is known for her filmpoems, dancepoems and innovative poetic combinations. This is her third pamphlet of English poems, after Autumn Dedications and Colours of the Swan.
The poignant stillness of temples and shrines, the lush green of the rice fields and the gentle breeze waffling through the susuki grasses: Through her attention to the ‘untranslatable’, Eleni Cay celebrates the universal and yet deeply local experiences that expand our own dictionaries. The twenty-two poems in this pamphlet are based on Cay’s selection of her favourite Japanese words, the meanings of which can only be understood in contact with the timeless.
Eleni Cay is a poet bold enough to name human feeling, the bitter and the beautiful. These short poems are slivers of emotion, translating the mystical into the natural and everyday, a translation delicately balanced between cultures, Japanese and English-speaking, Keats and Basho. Read them: you have already felt them. CLAIRE CROWTHER