World’s Words – Civilisations Festival

It was a privilege for me to be asked by the Library to organise an event during this week-long, nation-wide celebration of human creativity in all its forms. Thanks to the generous suggestions by my now extensive network of poets and authors, and the even more generous participation of eight supremely talented poets, I and the large audience enjoyed a terrific and moving evening. Although the event was all about ‘words’, it is hard to convey in words the emotions elicited by the music, rhythms and meanings of the many poems read in Arabic, Bangla, Greek and English. There may be a recording of it and shall post it if I’m able to… The theme of ‘words’ stretched to migration, war, asylum, identity. But it is words that people take with them as they move from place to place, and their translation allow us entry into their lives and experiences. As someone said, translation is the essence of hospitality. And as we all know, hospitality is the essence of civilisation.

Adnan Al-Sayegh reading with (l-r) Milton, Stephen, Farah and Mick


Me getting the session started, with (l-r) Fiona, Kostya, Mick and Lorraine


Mick Delap reading, with Milton, Stephen, Adnan and Farah

Stephen reading. As well as a fantastic poet in his own right, Stephen performed his translations of Adnan’s poems. He also compiled, and read from, a bilingual anthology of Bangladeshi poetry.
Milton


Left to right: Lorraine Mariner, Kostya Tsolakis, Milton Rahman, Stephen Watts, Adnan Al-Sayegh, Farah Naz, Fiona Moore and Mick Delap

And, as part of the same project, on Wednesday March 7, storytellers Farah Naz and Rich Sylvester http://richstories.mayfirst.org/ ran three sessions with year 4 pupils of James Wolfe Primary School in Royal Hill. I sat in on one of the sessions and learnt all about the origin of sunlight, the first sandals ever made and how to make a lazy young man into one with a decent work ethic… Here are a couple of images from the session. Thank you Rich and Farah, and the Head and Deputy head of the school (Steve Harris and Taniya Ahmed) for being so enthusiastic about this project.

Events

Wednesday November 11 at 7.30 (Please note change of date. ZOOM check-in at 7.15)

‘All that has been’ a virtual evening with poets Chrissie Gittins and Wendy French and music by The Moonpennies.

Chrissie Gittins and Wendy French will read from their latest published collections, Sharp Hills and Bread Without Butter respectively. Juxtaposing past and present, family and nature, the personal and the universal, these readings are perfect for a Remembrance Day evening: filled not with nostalgia but with empathy, reflection and curiosity.

The Moonpennies are a duo who compose and perform poem songs, and will provide a few interludes. I’ll say no more about this – let it be a surprise!

This is a FREE event. Please email irena@in-words.co.uk as soon as you can to receive a zoom invitation the day before the event.

If you’d like to follow the readings with the books in front of you, you can order copies from the publishers indigodreams.co.uk (for Sharp Hills) and rockinghampress.co.uk (for Bread Without Butter).

NIGHT WATCHED has been postponed until 2021.

Let’s hope we can celebrate the 2021 summer Solstice (or, if we are lucky, the spring Equinox) with Graham High‘s poetic look at the Astronomers Royal, the inimitable voice of NJ Hynes and music by Alexis Bennett.