Skip to content

Sarah Howe Interviews Robyn Creswell and Iman Mersal

“Iman’s poetry was completely unlike anything that I had been reading in Arabic, and the impression that I got was that all of a sudden I seemed to be reading about the present. It was real life; it was contemporary life.”

—Robyn Creswell on translating Iman Mersal

“Poetry is mysterious. You can’t predict it. You can’t make a plan to write a poem tomorrow.” —Iman Mersal

In this interview with Griffin Trustee Sarah Howe, 2023 Griffin Poetry Prize finalists Robyn Creswell and Iman Mersal reflect on what drew them to work together, their collaborative process in capturing the spirit of Iman’s prose poems in Arabic, the unpredictability of poetry, and more. They end with a bilingual Arabic/English reading of the poem “Up in the air” from their shortlisted collection, The Threshold (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).

Join us at the Griffin Poetry Prize Readings in Toronto on June 7—our first live event in three years—to hear readings from all of our finalists, as well as this year’s Lifetime Recognition Award recipient and the Canadian First Book Prize winner. Tickets are now on sale here.

Interviews Archive

Ann Lauterbach interviewed by Mark Doty

“I have a desire for people to understand horizontality as a very important way to live.” –Ann Lauterbach In this interview with Griffin Trustee Mark …