By Heidi Trautmann
The date of 21 March as the beginning of spring, the source of a new beginning, of fresh energy and creative mind, is the proper date to celebrate the World Poetry Day. For this occasion the Turkish Cypriot Artists and Writers Union invited poets to come to Cyprus to meet and celebrate the day together.
Do you know the newly renovated Naci Talat Vakif - Peace and Guest House in Lefkosa? It is a most beautiful Ottoman style house in the Old City just around the corner from HASDER, the Folk Art Institute. There on March 21, interested guests and friends were invited for the celebration. The World Poetry Day on the 21st March was founded by UNESCO in 1999 to promote the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry around the globe.
Guests and poets met in the inner courtyard for a drink and some good talks. The recital and the mini classic guitar concert by Beril Bozkurt was presented on the first floor in one of the two big reception rooms, one of them is dedicated to Fikret Demirağ, who had left us in December 2010.
Nese Yasin was the evening’s moderator which she usually is on such occasions and she invited the poets to come forward and recite their poems.
The poets were: Senem Göke, Jenan Selçuk, Gür Genç, Tamer Öncül, Neşe Yaşin, Zeki Ali, Feriha Altiok, Neriman Cahit, Niki Marangou, Stephanos Stephanides, Ana Luisa Amaral (Portugal), Anna Aguilar-Amat (Spain), Sigitas Parulskis (Lithuania), Tadeusz Dabrowski (Poland), Adrian Grima (Malta), Pelin Özer (Turkey), Vassilis Manoussakis (Greece).
I want to include two poems by two women with more or less the same title:
No Woman’s Land by Ana Luisa Amaral from Portugal and
No Man’s Land by Niki Marangou from Cyprus….Interesting.
NO WOMAN’S LAND
I say space
Or any recipe
A space in earnest
Or no woman’s land
Since not enough
The one conquered
At the price of silences
And troubled onions
Arrhythmias of me
I built up a redoubt
But not enough:
In it shrivel butterflies and dreams
And the same onions
Repeat in vicious circles
I say space
Or any recipe
Instead of me
Ana Louisa Amaral
No Man’s Land
There is no such thing as no man’s land.
Every no man’s land
Was someone’s land
In the clothline of memory
Little vests are cracking in the sun
A boy falls down
And hurts his knee.
A woman sobs.
Luckily the earth knows nothing about all this
And decorates the destroyed walls with ivy
The wounds with poppies
The tombs with thyme.
The recital was very touching in some places, with Senem Göke as the youngest one, with Feriha Altiok who recounted a personal experience on which her poem is based, Gür Genç, as usual, short but poignant, and from our guests they all brought a special witty aside, the Spanish poet talked to us in Catalan, a dialect spoken around Barcelona and sang a second text, the poet from Malta spoke in old Maltese, a mixture of Italian, English, French and Arabic; we listened to a poem in Polish, trying some dancing steps, and another in Lithuanian.
It was good to hear the many tongues, the music of poetry in the mother tongue.
As I was told, there was a workshop the day before in Nicosia South when all guest poems were translated into Turkish and the Turkish translated into the guests’ languages, with the English language as intermediate.
A workshop to understand the finesses of the many languages of the world and to know that at the same moment poets in other countries will do just the same.