About Me

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Award-winning poet and short story writer from Cyprus. Published three collections of poetry: The Voice at the Top of the Stairs (2001), Cleft in Twain (2003) and 25 Ways to Kiss a Man (2004). Cleft in Twain was cited by The Guardian in an article on the literature of the new European Union member states in 2004. My work has won prizes and commendations in various international competitions: among others, in the Commonwealth Short Story Competition, the Féile Filíochta International Poetry Competition (Ireland) and the Binnacle International Ultra-Short Competition at the University of Maine at Machias, USA. In addition to a book of short stories, Ledra Street (2006), I have had work published online and in journals internationally. My work was included in Best European Fiction 2011 (Dalkey Archive Press) and in the poetry anthology Being Human (Bloodaxe Books, 2011). Girl, Wolf, Bones – a new book of fairy tale inspired microfiction – was published in 2011.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Finnegan Flawnt reads Nora Nadjarian

Surprising and lovely. Inspiring and sexy. Incredible...
Well, if you ask the ladies, anyway.
I'm talking about the voice of Finnegan Flawnt, writer and reader extraordinaire, mentioned before on this blog. He is German, married to an American, lives in Berlin and his name is a pseudonym.
And I was delighted when he said he could relate to my poem and would like to read it.

"Mother Tongue" is a poem I wrote in 2003, at a time when I was considering mother and other tongues. Ironically, I wrote it back then as if my mother tongue was German (which it isn't) and I think it's befitting that a native German gets to read it so beautifully. Et voila, here it is,
MOTHER TONGUE read by Finnegan Flawnt.

Mother Tongue

by Nora Nadjarian

Which language do you dream in,

swear in, cry in, asked the questionnaire.

How many languages do you swim in,

drown in, breathe in, mime in?

Do you know how many tongues have adopted

your voice? And when at night you stare

at dark walls and one pair of lips

comes closer, whispering in perfect German

Ich bin deine Mutter -

Or the night shadows enlarge into a Fritz Lang

open scream and Muttersprache appears

on the silent movie screen, then:

what do you reply? In which language,

and how clearly, do you say: my mother tongue

is somewhere in the recesses of my mind.

I am not an orphan. I have a mother.

She put me to bed one night

and went away. The film we made

together has long been silent. But I still

hear her voice in the keyhole of my heart.

© Nora Nadjarian


  1. More beautiful work, Nora. And, yes, wonderfully read. That last line will stay with me.

  2. Thank you, Ethel! I appreciate your comments.

  3. beautiful poem, that really speaks to me. Thank you!