Translation Day &
Happy National Poetry Day!
I'm thrilled to share this new piece of magic
'PESSIMISM IS FOR LIGHTWEIGHTS'
Translated into old English by Emily Cotman
To celebrate International Translation Day and bring something magic and new to National Poetry Day 2020, Rough Trade Books have printed this broadside of a wonderful Olde English translation of ‘Pessimism is for Lightweights’.
Translation is an essential literary endeavour — a means of access into the language, thinking and stories of other cultures, histories and experiences. We believe the act of translation can be a radical rejection of a homogenous literary culture.
PESSIMISM IS FOR LIGHTWEIGHTS – A TIMELINE
Summer 2017: John Higgs commissions the poem to be used in a podcast centred around the book Watling Street. The first live performance of the poem takes place at the Kentish Town Forum at a rally for Jeremy Corbyn.
January 2018: The poem is erected outside the Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol and later on in the same month the poem was read at the Women’s March, Downing Street
March 2018: The poem was read at Trafalgar Square, March 4 Women, introduced by Sue Perkins: Watch on YouTube… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjTVyBcJR7I
June 2018: The poem is published: Pessismism is for Lightweights: 13 Pieces of Courage and Resistance by Rough Trade Books as part of their first series with a launch event to a packed-out crowd at bookshop Shakespeare and Co in Paris.
September 2018: Nymphs and Thugs release the poem on an EP, Live at Byline Festival - https://nymphsandthugs.net
October 2018: Special-edition letterpress prints of the poem for National Poetry Day go on sale, the poem is now a visual framed object in people’s homes and offices. The poem is read at the Arnolfini and set to music with Tongue Fu, to a standing ovation. Watch on YouTube… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cF4pOauGCCc
December 2018: The pamphlet Pessimism is for Lightweights: 13 Pieces of Courage and Resistance features in the Rough Trade Shops Top 10 Books of the Year.
April 2019: The poem is read at the first Extinction Rebellion rallies in Bristol and London's Parliament Square as well as Desperate Literature Bookshop in Madrid.
May 2019: The pamphlet Pessimism is for Lightweights: 13 Pieces of Courage and Resistance has a 'special mention' in the Saboteur awards.
Summer 2019: The poem continues to be read throughout the summer at various festivals including Faversham Literary Festival, Green Gathering, Port Eliot, Edinburgh Intl Book Festival, Byline Festival, Sea Change, and is featured in various magazines, newspapers, blogs and websites as well as radio shows including Soho Radio, Resonance and BBC’s Poetry Please, Jonathan Ross, Clive Anderson, The Verb.
January 2020: The poem features on BBC Radio 3 Friday poem, using the recording from The Verb.
February 2020: The poem is erected at People’s History Museum in Manchester as a permanent display for their 10th Anniversary.
September 2020: The poem is translated into Old English by Emily Cotman which kick-starts a campaign to translate the poem into as many languages as possible...