In this spring as a practicant of the Finnish Institute I had a great possibility to take part of the Poetry Ride - in very interesting way. The Poetry Riders' event and party in Tallinn was a lovely happening, but the most biggest thing about the Poetry Rides for me has been to collect poems for the Poetry Rides' exhibition. Have you already listened to the poems in this blog? On the video you can hear poems recorded at the Poetry Ride, but audio clips from poets have all been collected during this spring.
In February project manager Jenni asked me if I could work out how to record poems of all the poets who have taken part of Poetry Rides in six years. Thirty-three names from four countries, poems in six languages. The easiest way to get them all seemed to be to record the poems by phone. The system gave a feeling like working in the CIA – the phone could record automatically all the calls via my work number, including my calls to Mom.
So I started to send e-mails to the poets in Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Latvia. Most of the poets answered my message very friendly and we found a time, when I could call them. It was exciting. Usually we talked only a few words before the poet started to read his/her poems. Sometimes we talked more and then it was better to make a new call to get the poems on the tape. While listening to the poems I tried to hold the handset upside down that my own breathing wouldn’t sound on the tape. I also hoped every time that the demolition and renovation works of the library of the University of Tartu wouldn't sound on the tape. However, listening to... Read more
I strongly urge all our Latvian-speaking readers to go and get themselves a copy of Laimīgs cilvēks, the freshly translated collection poetry by the Finnish poet Claes Andersson. The title means a happy man, and that is exactly what Claes was when performing in Riga in the launch event of his book. That was his first time in Riga, although he had been performing in Latvia before. He was then travelling with Poetry Ride and the reading was held in northern part of the country, so he never got to Riga. Some locals implied that this might be due to having an Estonian driver who couldn’t find the way to Riga. Which is of course a highly distorted view of reality, as our driver Tõnu could propably find the way to any place on earth and beyond.
But now that Claes finally got into Riga, he made the public very happy. He was not only performing poetry, but he also showed his skills as a jazz pianist. It evoked some great memories of Poetry Ride 2008, when he was playing wherever he saw a piano... The translators of Laimīgs cilvēks, Juris Kronbergs and Guntars Godinš, are also poetry riders, as is the editor of the book Ingmāra Balode. There were also former poetry riders in the audience, so in a way it was like a family gathering.
My ability to speak Latvian is still in the level of demanding ice cream, so I wasn’t able to understand much of the new book. But as Claes was reading the original poems in Swedish, I understood that the book includes one of my favourite poems about love. Maybe you will find yours too?