da terra: a new translation project


I’ve loved writing this blog, receiving your comments, and seeing my work referenced in yours. In the last five years (since my last post!) despite not publishing on onlycoffeeisreal, I have voraciously and privately continued my mission reading, thinking, writing, and translating on the themes and ideas I first shared with the world here.

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 da-terra.org.

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.

Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen ‘Death’ – A Translation

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

Original translation of Sofia de Mello 'Morta' Continue reading “Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen ‘Death’ – A Translation”

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

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

Await Me – A Translation of Sophia De Mello Breyner Andresen


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Continue reading “Await Me – A Translation of Sophia De Mello Breyner Andresen”


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

Joy Harjo
Joy Harjo

‘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”

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 victimry 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 American Indian writers have transcended their role as victim 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 creating authentic counter-narratives of survivance.[3] Continue reading “Survivance and Storytelling: Erdrich’s Tracks and Welch’s Winter in the Blood”


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Gender Trouble in Katherine Mansfield’s ‘Bliss’

“. . . but I tell you, my lord fool, out of this nettle danger, we pluck this flower, safety.” [1]

‘Bliss’ opens with the heroine – Bertha – being moved by an overwhelming, and misunderstood, feeling of anticipation, which is particularly characterised by her inability to give expression to it. Throughout much of the story she is unable to give full expression to her inner passions, whether out of fear or inability, ‘her discourse is tempered by social conditioning.’[2] When she is overcome by this intense feeling of bliss she asks whether there is ‘no way to express it without being ‘drunk and disorderly’’ and perceives civilisation as ‘idiotic’ because of its control over her own individual expression. When she desires to ‘get in touch’ with her husband, she becomes paralysed on the phone, ‘What had she to say? She’d nothing to say… She couldn’t absurdly cry: ‘Hasn’t it been a divine day!’ Again, in the nursery, the contrast between her internalised feelings and her verbalised response is striking, ‘You’re nice – you’re very nice! … I’m fond of you. I like you,’ she says to her baby daughter. Continue reading “Gender Trouble in Katherine Mansfield’s ‘Bliss’”