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from “Border Crossings” by Dennis Maloney

On dark nights when I have no words of my
own, translations calm me, let me
jump deep in letter by letter
soaking up the dampness of the words.I hear a whispered sigh like the sea
in the dark, as both poem and self
exist in a constant state of becoming.

What draws us as a translator to seek
an equivalent music from one
tongue to another? Affinities, a vibrancy,
listening to meanings that reside, flowering,
beyond the thickness of dictionaries.

Nibbling at the edges of the poem, we give
contours to shadows. How do we translate
the silence that lives between the lines?

I am a nomad searching for a language
in which I am a word unbound,
wandering between the world
we inhabit and the one we create.

About the Poet

Dennis Maloney

Dennis Maloney is a poet and translator. He is the author of thirteen collections of poems including “The Map Is Not the Territory” (Unicorn Press, 1990), “Just Enough” (Palisade Press, 2009), and “Listening to Tao Yuan Ming” (Glass Lyre Press, 2016). A bilingual German/English volume, “Empty Cup” was published in Germany in 2017 and in 2021 a chapbook, “Some Windows,” with translations in several languages appeared in Germany from hochroth Verlag. His most recent collections include “The Things I Notice Now” (Madhat Press, 2018), “The Faces of Guan Yin,” (Folded Word Press, 2019) and “Windows” (Madhat Press, 2022).

Among his twenty volumes of poems in translation are “The Stones of Chile” by Pablo Neruda, “The Landscape of Castile” by Antonio Machado, “Between the Floating Mist: Poems of Ryokan,” and “The Poet and the Sea” by Juan Ramon Jimenez.

Since 1973, Maloney has been the editor and publisher of the widely respected literary publisher White Pine Press based in Buffalo, NY. This poem originally appeared in the literary journal Plume and will appear in one of Maloney”s forthcoming books.

Related Event

  • On Wednesday, October 6 at 7:30 p.m., Dennis Maloney will join poet Rochester, NY based poet Ralph Black in a Literary Café Series reading at The Center for Inquiry, 1310 Sweet Home Rd. in Amherst NY. The reading is free and open to the public. The venue is ADA accessible. The CFI Literary Café Series is curated by poet Ryki Zuckerman.

The Poem of the Week feature is curated by literary legacy awardee R.D. Pohl.