From a message to a friend:
I do hope you check out Art Omi. I went to a little event there last Saturday afternoon, a reading by its current crop of writers in residence. One of them, of Swedish descent, hailed from Finland. Typing from the program, her name was Catharina Gripenberg (poetry/playwriting). "Born in Jakobstad on the Finnish west coast, Catharina belongs to the Swedish speaking minority of Finland. She writes in Swedish, and has, so far, published three collections of poetry and several plays. At Ledig House Catharina will be working on her next book." She read aloud from some of her poetry, in English, and in Swedish. Other writers did too, reading excerpts of their work, in English, translated, and - usually more animatedly - the very same excerpts, in their native tongues. It was wonderful to listen to the English, whatever the level of halting or not accents, and then to hear the native tongues, each so different, each so musical. Portugese sounded to me like Hebrew (shows how little I know of either Portugese or Hebrew, I suppose); Catharina put me instantly in mind of Ingmar Bergman films. I don't mean to sound clichéd about that - but her rhythmic cadences coupled with occasionally homophonically recognizable phrases "mine sister" - wow. There was also a "hot" young Polish writer, Dorota Masłowska, who is - as I gather - all of about 27 now - but in her teens wrote & published a novel in Poland that captured the zeitgeist of her disaffected/left-out-in-the-cold generation. She read her work in translation, a very well-written, serious/sardonic excerpt from her first novel, Snow White and Russian Red. When I heard her read, crisply & briskly in heavily accented English, I wish she had read aloud in Polish too - and said as much to her in the little wine & beer mingling afterward. I said, I wish you'd read aloud in Polish too - I actually would have understood it. She said, I didn't think anyone here would know Polish. I replied - doesn't matter, it's so great to hear the sounds of the different languages. Swedish, Portugese, others too - German, native Hawaiiian, Macedonian, and we might have heard Catalan too had the poet's voice not been lost due to laryngitis.
I was having such writers block with my blog this afternoon - but jotting down this little note to you helped break it. Don't be surprised if it looks familiar - on my blog. Belle