sonnet of fidelity

With everything, to my love I’ll be attentive, 

Until, and with that zeal, and always, and so much

That even in the face of the most enchanted

It’s made more enchanting still.

Continue reading “sonnet of fidelity”

trust ( repost)

Read the latest on trust a translation of Costa Andrade.

Image credit
: Uanhenga Xito* by Cristiano Mangovo.

*It was only much later after translating and publishing this that I realised who the figure in the artwork was. Uanhenga Xito, an Angolan writer and member of the MPLA (Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola). You can find the artist, and the original painting, on Cristiano Mangovo’s Instagram page.

Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen ‘Death’ – A Translation

Sophia de Mello writing and smoking by the window
Sophia de Mello


How you are clear, 

What freshness stayed between your fingers… 


You are a fountain, 

With white stones in your depths, 

Continue reading “Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen ‘Death’ – A Translation”

da terra: a new translation project


I’ve loved writing this blog, receiving your comments, and seeing my work referenced in yours. Onlycoffeeisreal will continue to be my very personal and special place on the internet, and I aim to publish the many, many currently ‘in draft’ posts I have saved over the coming months. But now, and in the future, you can also find my work (and new translations) on the recently launched and co-managed

For me, da terra is an evolution of and represents a progression from, the work I first explored here: our aim is to increase representation and raise awareness of voices and stories from Portuguese-speaking Africa. You can read poetry and short story translations, as well as (soon to come) more literary translations which remain the heart of what I love to do, but we also transcribe, translate and publish interviews from real people, sharing their stories and experiences of colonial, but mostly post-colonial, Portuguese-speaking Africa.

I’m still that girl. And I hope you’ll continue to read, enjoy, reference and comment on my work.

Survivance and Storytelling: Erdrich’s Tracks and Welch’s Winter in the Blood

When the victims talk back, they stop being victims.

Gerald Vizenor
Gerald Vizenor

For centuries, in cartoons, stories, songs and paintings, Native Americans have been culturally invented and represented from the outside. These invented narratives of decimation and victimisation are described by Gerald Vizenor as ‘simulations of dominance’.[1] By moving away from the sentimentality that had characterised earlier periods of Native American fiction, contemporary indigenous American writers have transcended their role as victims in their quest for cultural survivance.[2] Vizenor describes these writers as ‘postindian warriors’, a term coined by Vizenor and used to describe Native American people who pursue creative acts of resistance and are concerned with authentic counter-narratives of survival.[3] 

Continue reading “Survivance and Storytelling: Erdrich’s Tracks and Welch’s Winter in the Blood”


water, breaches

you, the kisser


and still buzzed

Continue reading “Pods”

Noémia de Sousa ‘I Will Rise Lucid’ – A Translation

Noémia de Sousa

You beat me and threaten me 

Now I lift my enlighted head

And scream: ‘Enough!’(…) Condemning me to eternal darkness

Now my African soul is illuminated

And discovered the fraud and screamed, screamed a thousand


You put me in this cage and now you want to crucify me

Now I’ve drawn the rosy tint from my eyes 

And screamed: ‘Enough!’ 

Continue reading “Noémia de Sousa ‘I Will Rise Lucid’ – A Translation”

Sofia de Mello Bryner Andreson ‘Await Me’ – A Translation


On beaches that are the white faces of the beloved dead
I will let your name lose itself repeatedly

But await me:
For however long the journey
I’ll return.

Continue reading “Sofia de Mello Bryner Andreson ‘Await Me’ – A Translation”

Thoughts on Joy Harjo’s ‘Dangerous Woman’: Resistance, Power and Survival

‘I Am a Dangerous Woman’[1] was published in 1979 in Harjo’s second collection of poetry What Moon Drove Me To This? and like much of Harjo’s poetry, in this collection and beyond, it explores cultural and feminist concerns.

Continue reading “Thoughts on Joy Harjo’s ‘Dangerous Woman’: Resistance, Power and Survival”


i stand stiffly on the cliffs edge,

and in the whispering wind

the three shapes of our laughter chime

in the tiny hall.

Continue reading “flesh”