24th of November was a special day for all the people in Daugavpils. Our city welcomes four of the greatest contemporary poets: Kārlis Vērdiņš from Latvia, Jan Kaus from Estonia, Miia Toivio from Finland and Gunnar Waerness from Norway.
The day started with a seminar held in Daugavpils University. Poets introduced the audience with the literature of their countries, latest tendencies, recent characters, problems and methods which are used by contemporary authors, as well as talked about common social and cultural issues that directly affects the world of poetry and other genres of literature.
Thanks to synchronic translation an opportunity to follow the seminar was also provided to people who don’t speak Latvian or English. During the seminar poets shared some of their own poems; in that way a little intrigue was given to the audience to join poetry readings in the evening.
After the seminar the “Poetry Ride” exhibition was officially opened. It’s located in the library of Daugavpils University, Vienības street 13. Books from Latvia, Estonia, Norway and Finland are available there, as well as audio records and pictures of all “Poetry Ride” participants of all years. We are very glad that it is our university that can host such a great exhibition. It’s a great opportunity to explore North-European literature and its’ modern tendencies.
And then the impatiently waited evening came. Poetry readings were held in chummy and creative atmosphere at the club “Artilērijas pagrabi”. It was so nice to hear there poets again, this time in a bit less formal way. Poetry readings in two languages –original and translation was something unusual for the audience of Daugavpils. It let to hear poem’s real sounding, to feel the musicality and expression of Finnish, Estonian and Norwegian languages. Poets were presenting this beautiful sounding in each own... Read more
Poetry Ride will have its Norwegian premiere in November, as we are going to visit the Arctic metropolis of Tromsø. We will start our travelling festival from Daugavpils, Latvia, then head to Tartu, Estonia.
After really getting to know our bus very thoroughly we will stop in Joensuu in University of Eastern Finland, and the grand tour will end in Tromsø. In all these places we are meeting with bright young minds and their mentors, speaking about what is happening in poetry scene in each of these countries and the pain and passion of translating poetry. I visited Tromsø for a preliminary meeting with our partner, Anne Oterholm, who teaches creative writing in the University of Tromsø.
This very popular program has been going on in the university for 25 years and been an important step in the career of many modern Norwegian writers. I had the chance to meet the students who are now starting the program and whom we will meet again in November in Poetry Ride. Tromsø ‘s creative writing program really seems to be highly respected, as I learned that some of the students come from as far as Oslo! And I have no fear that the students would stay silent during our visit: they were a bunch of interesting and intelligent people with a fondness for words.
I also visited the temple of books, also known as Tromsø main library. Seriously, go there if you are in town. In the library I met Øystein and Easterine, who offered me some new ideas and advice. The tourist brochures in the hotel told me that the library is one the main architectural sites in Tromsø.
But I would have figured that out anyway, that is really a beautiful building in many ways! But why did Poetry Ride want to go to... Read more