Poet and translator Lena Khalaf Tuffaha's new collection is "Water & Salt."
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Poet and translator Lena Khalaf Tuffaha's new collection is "Water & Salt."
Credit: Courtesy of Reema Tuffaha

One poet's take on translating news of the world for her kids

My daughter asks me to explainbut my words falter.

Think about the Syrian civil war and refugee crisis. The seemingly endless cycle of violence between Israelis and Palestinians. Now, if you have kids in your life, think about how you talk to them about war and human suffering.

The trails of the dispossessedI watched in childhood areidentical to the ones she sees today.

Redmond-based poet and translator Lena Khalaf Tuffaha talks with KUOW's Elizabeth Austen about the task of being a "parent translator" for her daughters, and how her own education in Jordan gave her a well of Arabic poetry to draw on. She reads poems "Again and Again" (quoted above) and "Copybooks" from her new collection "Water & Salt" (Red Hen Press).

Web extras: Lena Khalaf Tuffaha reads "Upon Arrival" and "Mountain, Stone," two more poems from "Water & Salt."

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