September 15, 2010
Poets are peripatetic – that’s my conclusion this month, anyway. I’m reading with great pleasure Gerry Loose’s blog from his temporary perch in Finland. Gerry Cambridge is setting off for Vilnius, where he’ll meet up with Lise Sinclair from Shetland, and the others from Iceland and Lithuania who make up ‘the berserkers’, a group formed from the impetus of the multilingual music/translation workshop at Crear in 2008. They’ll play in Vilnius and Riga to celebrate the launch of their CD, Under the evening sky, of which a limited number of copies will be available from the SPL next month. We’ll hope to air some tracks on our podcast.
Meanwhile, I’m in sunny Bratislava with a group of poets under the aegis of Literature Across Frontiers: Nuduran Duman (Turkey), Giorgios Chantzis (Greece), Elena Hidveghyova-Yung (Slovakia), Zaza Koshkadze (Georgia), Tom Pow (Scotland) and Richard Gwyn (Wales). The sessions have been as much master-classes in writing as translation sessions; the younger poets have benefitted enormously from the teaching poets’ experience – and I have, too. Sometimes the poets are asked to say nothing as we discuss their poems, sometimes they are asked to explain every last detail – indeed, Tom and I took to the floor to demonstrate ‘reel’ as it appeared in his poem. Today a producer from Slovak radio is coming to record them for her programme ‘Babylon’: yesterday I spoke on that programme, following a recording by Armenian-African musicians… amidst these various voices, the clang of the trams and the pealing of bells at regular intervals, poems are being changed and exchanged. And the citizens of Bratislava will have a chance to hear the results at the Panta Rhei bookshop on Friday 17th at 5. The SPL pops up in unexpected places!