Poems for April 10: Beatriz Badikian-Gartler’s Everday Gestures and Woudóf Milé’s A 16 Year-Old Girl Who’s Standing

Everyday Gestures by Beatriz Badikian-Gartler

(after a photograph)

Each day begins alike.

A mother at the ironing-board, a father

at the assembly line.  Both bent over.  She

with the old coal iron

in one hand, the other

straightening out the cloth, a lock

of hair drawing a question mark

on her forehead.  Wrinkles smoothed out

on a blue and yellow flowered dress.  Are there

Mapmaker's Daughter by Beatriz Badikian-Gartler

screaming children on the other side

of the door from where light

barely filters in?

His work,

the drudgery of everyday, and

the return home, spent yet empty.

[From Beatriz Badikian-Gartler’s web site: Born in Buenos Aires, and a long time Chicago resident, it’s no wonder Beatriz is a world traveler.

Old Gloves: a novel

Beatriz Badikian-Gartler earned her doctorate in creative writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago and has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants in the language arts.   Recently, Badikian-Gartler has been a faculty member at Chicago’s Roosevelt University , the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Newberry Library where she teaches literature, writing and women’s studies.  Today she teaches at Northwestern University in Evanston, and was recently named one of 100 Women Who Make a Difference by Today’s Chicago Woman magazine.]


A 16 Year Old-Girl Who’s Standing by Woudóf Milé  (Rudolf Miller)

translated from the Haitian Creole by Jack Hirschman and Boadiba, from Open Gate the bilingual anthology of Haitian Creole poetry edited by Hirschman and Pol Larak (Paul Laraque)

A 16 year-old

who’s standing

on the corner of Grand and Miracle Streets,

at 11 in the evening

in a tired little dress

A 16 year-old girl

who’s standing like an i

The first bilingual Haitian Creole and English poetry anthology

under and arcade

She’s not waiting for a bus

she’s not waiting for anyone

it’s just that at her house

her hungry mother

is about to die

she’d rather be standing there

at 11 in the evening

in the cold under the Grand Street


[Open Gate is the first bilingual volume of Haitian Creole poetry published in English. Seven years in the making, this anthology is the result of the dedication of its editors and translators, Paul Laraque, Jack Hirschman and the Haitian poet Boadiba, as well as Max Manigat, one of the first teachers of Creole at the university level.

The editors focus on contemporary Creole poetry that reflects the struggle for human rights in Haiti,. . .read more herePaul Laraque is former secretary-general of the Association of Haitian Writers Abroad (1979-1986). He is the author of several poetry books in French and in Creole, the language of Haitian people; some were translated in Spanish, English and Italian. Camourade (Camarade/Comrade and Amour/Love), translated from French into English by Rosemary Manno, was published by Curbstone Press in 1988, with an introduction by Jack Hirschman.  Hirschman, a prolific author of his own poetic works, also translates from 8 languages.  He will open the Chicago Labor & Arts Festival on May 3 and 4.


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