Peripatetic poets

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!

– Robyn

One Response to “Peripatetic poets”

  1. […] A footnote to the Bratislava workshop – or rather, some actual notes from the workshop, which concluded, at Tom Pow’s behest, with the making of a sound poem. This was a new medium for most of the poets, and two in particular took to it with glee. It fascinated the audience at the Bratislava bookshop where the reading was held – a new form to them, too. I said in my introduction that the national poet of Scotland, Edwin Morgan, had died last month, and that he was a great translator and experimenter with language – a maker of sound poems – so this was our tribute to him and to our stay in Bratislava. The sound poem made by Giorgos Hanztis, Tom Pow, Nurduran Duman and Richard Gwyn is called ‘Bratislava’, and if you listen carefully, you may hear the sound of the Danube, of leaves in the wind, of a girl on her mobile phone as she walks along, and the sound of the tram (conveyed by the repetition of one Slovakian taste treat, best when filled with plums)… […]

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