Saturday, April 23, 2011

Nordic Night of Poetry

I remembered with crisp clarity that Nordic night two weeks ago at the Irish Writers' Centre and there was nothing cold about that night, quite on the contrary.
It features Tua Forsström, Jan Erik Rekdal, Morten Sondergaard and Eva Runefelt. Four Nordic poets were invited with Poetry Ireland in association with the Irish Writers' Centre.

I arrived late. Nearly thirty minutes late. And I had considered turning around as I knew they were only to speak for 15 minutes each and I didn't want to interrupt their readings but something told me that I should go nonetheless so I tip toed as quietly as I could, sit behind a door and I didn't regret it.
As it turned out, when I arrived the first poet had just started her poetry. It must have been a pretty long introduction to greet them. Then again, they had made a long journey to answer Ireland Call to poetry.

If my memory doesn't fail me it started with Eva Runefelt. Her tone was so calm and composed I felt I could spend hours listening to the sound of her voice.  Then the evening moved on with Morten Sondergaard as he read witty and slightly thought provocative poems. One was called "Post-Mortem" as a nod to his own name. It is said about him that he hasn't been afraid to try things out and there was indeed an element of refreshing curiosity and simplicity in his poetry. His poems seemed universal to the audience who laughed easily at his words, speaking freely of his feelings.  Then Tua Forsström read a poem in Finnish about Marylin Monroe which was read by Judith Mok in English. Then she gave way to Jan Erik Rekdal.
When Jan started to read his poems in Norwegian, the words had more tension, torturous as they rumble deep in his throat. One of his poems was about  his experience of watching an Irish woman 's face and body coming alive as she sung in Gaelic. It was a beautiful poem.

Yet I wouldn't have missed any of their poems. Listening to every of their Slavic language was like diving into a worldwide music. The sounds are unknown to you yet somehow they are familiar as well, maybe because through the driving force of the words, I could hear  them speaking from the heart.

Emotion carry on, silences and tones letting words drift through you like expensive clockwork.
I don't know why it took me so long to come around to write about it. Maybe I felt I wouldn't do it justice unless I had digested how it made me feel retrospectively.

All I know is that their Scandinavian visits strike a sympathetic chord in me.

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