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by Eugenijus Alisanka (Lithuania) on June 8th, 2010

Eugenijus Alisanka, Hassan El Ouazzani, Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi and Nyk de Vries in Rotterdam

Today I decided to write about two events which I was involved in last week, two events important to me. At first glance they are not connected to each other, but I am connected to both. At least both of them have became objects of my poetic interest.

The first one – my trip to Rotterdam. On Sunday I took part in the Dunya festival which, I was told, gave birth to Rotterdam Poetry International years ago. Now, Dunya is not a literary festival anymore, it is a musical one, so there is only one poetical event on the schedule. The festival takes place in the Rotterdam city park, with tents scattered across the entire area. Music thunders from all sides, energetic Latin, African and other beats, and I can hardly imagine how and where our poetry will fit in. The festival lasts just one day, and it rains that day every year, as organisers tell me. There were attempts to change the date of the event, but in vain – the festival is doomed to be soaked in rain. This Sunday too – spurts of wind turn into gusts of rain. It clears in the evening, and more people flow into the park. But most of them never reach the poetry reading – H. Hesse’s idea about music as a high art is borne out. In the tent of the Poetry park Cuban musicians play, they ignite the full hall, they perform an encore, they take away time from the poets’s slot, the organisers get worried. After the concert, the hall empties, and it is frightful to go to the mike and to read to thin air, to those empty benches which still vibrate with Caribbean spirit.

And a surprise – voices of poets successfully fill all those empty places. There is nothing missing anymore. I believe in poetry again. And I recall how I was climbing once from the bed of the Colorado River uphill along canyons right before the sunset and came across the voice of a lonely flute. It had no audience, its voice rolled over stones and precipices, it echoed from caves and passes. I was an accidental spectator. The veriest one.

The second event – the evening in Zabarija village, at my country-house on Thursday. The dark cloud is approaching, green meadows are suddenly enlightened by incredible yellowness even though the sun is absent, a strange fiesta of colours. And suddenly gusts of wind descend upon the landscape, tearing trees. Bean-sized hail spills out of black cloud. The sky is slashed by lightning, wildfire like crazy. I see rapidly flowing fields, the dirt road turns into a roaring river. Maybe for the first time in my life I am scared of nature: I do not dare even to leave the house. And I am flooded with the wave of an unhuman beauty. Tremendum et fascinance. Nature performs one of its celestial oratorios. I am an accidental spectator. The veriest one.

I have tried to put poetical clothes on both events. But the most striking thing is that both poems I’ve written do not even hint at the stuff mentioned above. Both poems are like preludes to these events. In the first one I talk about the canals of Rotterdam, about the cruise ship, the biggest in the world, docked here, about my transit mood, about the world port centre. In the second one the action takes place before the rain, right before the rain. Why don’t these poems centre on the main events, as might be natural given my prosaic talk above? Maybe here one can find the aim of poetry – to be a prelude, a prolegomenon to the texts of life?

Read more about and by Eugenijus Alisanka on Poetry International Web.

One Comment
  1. Kenny permalink

    That must have been a great venue for everyone who attended. Ever since, i do really believe in the power of poetry and it a saddening fact that its fading as time goes by. I’ve heard about the National Recitation Competition and that almost three hundred thousand students competed for the title. It was such an amazing performance for a 16-year old girl. I have read many blogs and news about how the event was. In many instances, the effectiveness of a poem derives from how it was delivered, and I could proudly say you chose the right poem and delivered it just right! We look forward to see more of these poems outloud!

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