We are movie stars...


... as the Poetry Ride documentary was shown in Helsinki last Friday! In 2011, we had a really hard-working and talented young photographer Alisa Javits travelling with the poetry riders, and she made a film about the journey. Now it was shown as part of the Art goes Kapakka- festival in Helsinki. The idea of the festival is to bring art to the eateries and drinkeries of Helsinki. The venue for our film screening was Bar Socis, a bar that has been serving drinks in grand surroundings from 1913. A nice place for a night full of short films (and the strawberry cooler was really tasty)! You can see  what else was in the program in artgoeskapakka.fi

It always painful for me to see myself in the screen, but other than that I am really proud of the film. Alisa really got the atmosphere of the tour, and it shows in the documentary.  It is not easy to make something visual, like a film, from something so focused on verbal culture as a poetry tour. We are lucky to have a chance to work with Alisa, let’s see what other interesting things are going to happen with the film! I have a hunch that we might get to see it again in a bigger screen, but let’s see what happens and when... Meanwhile, check out her blog Alisa Javits blogspot

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Something I learned about Poetry Riders Guest post by Kata Suurpalo


My contribution to Poetry Ride, as an intern at the Finnish Institute in Estonia, was to write short introductions of poets who have taken part in the Poetry ride along the seven years. As I had watched the great film by Alisa Javits and listened to poems on the Poetry Ride’s website countless times I felt like I had seen the Poetry Ride, if not been part of it. But something was missing; I knew almost nothing about the actual Poetry Riders. Now it was time to do something about it. During these seven years different poets have taken part in the Poetry Ride. Some have been famous and established but interesting more marginal poets have been seen on the Ride, as well. Some have been experienced and some at the beginning of their career. It’s easy to understand Igor Kotjuh, when he says on the Ride’s film that the Poetry Ride is an excellent example of how you can at the same time be original and belong to a group that has a common goal. For me some of the most interesting poets were the Poetry Riders of 2011.

Theme for that year was minority languages which meant that all the poets participating in the Ride write in a language that only a minority in their countries speak. Minorities were Livonian in Latvia, represented by Valts Ernštreits, Russian in Estonia, represented by Igor Kotjuh, Northern Sami in Sweden, represented by Rose-Marie Huuva and Swedish in Finland, represented by Agneta Enckell. Through poetry they can not only maintain the language and culture but also offer new and possibly rare experiences to public. While getting familiar with Poetry Riders’ production and activities I was surprised how versatile the poets are. They do not only write poems but translate literature, work as journalists,... Read more