Ribwort is a space to sit down with your pain and listen. You may think it’s not helpful, like a leaf of ribwort on a bleeding wound. The pain will probably be growing more and more acute, but if you face it, if you hold space for it. Eventually it will shrink to the size of a scratch which a leaf of ribwort can help to heal. When we have healed, we become leaves of ribwort for others, so we can sit down with their pain and listen. Listen with compassion and without fear, without getting defensive or running away. This is what keeps us going.
Translated from Belarusian by the author, with the English version edited by the American poet Mary Kollar.
Hanna Komar is a poet, translator, writer. She has published four poetry collections, “Страх вышыні” [Fear of Heights], a collection of docu-poetry “Мы вернемся” [We’ll Return] and "Вызвалі або бяжы" [Set Me Free or Run] in Belarusian, as well as a bilingual collection Recycled. Her work has been translated into Polish, Ukrainian, Swedish, Norwegian, German, Czech, Lithuanian, Slovenian and Russian. She translates her work into English. Hanna is a member of PEN and Freedom of Speech 2020 Prize laureate from the Norwegian Authors’ Union. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Westminster. She is interested in using poetry to support Belarusian women to share experiences of gender based violence and patriarchy.
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«Hanna Komar’s poems display a refined ear for sound and sense both in Belarusian and translated by her into English.
Her poems move seamlessly from the personal to the political, speaking with the urgency of a life experienced with compassion, dignity and resolve»
- Mary Kollar, Poet and Educator, U.S.A
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