Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Poetry on the Road

Gerdur Kristny, me and Bejan Matur at Manchester
Week 2 of the Arc Ventures Tour begins. And the reality of 10 poets from 8 countries visiting 27 venues in 3 weeks is beginning to sink in. I mean really sink in, despite having had the logisitics of it swirling around my brain, nerves and muscles for the past three months...

Highlights of week one include:
  • The Icelandic Ambassador's delight at Gerdur Kristny's impending visit to Hull... The long shadow of the cod wars still evident.
  • The audience at the Turkish Cultural Centre bulging to welcome Bejan Matur to the UK
  • Bejan's reflection that staying at Waterloo Travelodge was like being on the set of Barton Fink. 
  • Amarjit Chandan's rendering of 'To Father' at Lancaster: sharp and moving. The epitomy of how one persona's experience can touch so many.
  • Discussing Buddhism, Islam and Christianity with Razmik Davoyan and Amarjit - the irony of religion being there to unite people.
  • Maike Oergel at the workshop in Nottingham giving a brilliant presentation on poetry, translation and drew out the most extraordinary range of experiences of translating.
  • The Hebden Bridge salon that was 'absolutely magical' 
  • But perhaps the biggest thrill so far was hearing that Thitsar Ni, the 66 year old Burmese poet who got a passport especially for this tour, whose visa only just came through last Wedesday, arrived at Heathrow last night and is ready to roll.
And so, to Hull, London, Newcastle, Bangor, London and Edinburgh ...

Razmik Davoyan, Armine Tamrazian and Amarjit Chandan

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