WISPA tour of Wales March 2014, part3
The rest of the 26th in Lampeter gave me the chance to truly hear and encounter the poetry of others.
In the afternoon I was at a poetry workshop given by the poet Sujata Bhatt.
A renowned poet herself she introduced us to the writings of Brigit Pegeen Kelly, an American poet whose poetry was a delight to savour for the first, but not last, time.
The theme of the workshop was around the idea of poetry and place. Given that we were in the company of a Gujarati speaking poet, who lives in Germany and we were a multi-lingual group, temporarily brought together in the heart of Wales, it was apt indeed. This workshop was part of the MA program in Creative Writing in the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David.
The evening was in the University again, this time for a reading by Sujata. This was powerful and in a beautiful setting with a most appreciative audience. A fellow WISPA founder, Sue Moules was also there. Sue is rightly proud of the fact that the writers group in Lampeter is probably the longest running of the many writers groups in Wales, they began their great work in 1984.
Introducing Sujata and acting as MC for the evening was Gillian Clarke who holds a most distinguished position in Welsh life, being National Poet of Wales since 2008.
As the evening progressed Gillian made a lovely comment that it was great to be in a room where everyone present was bi-lingual at least and a lively discussion on the benefits of awareness of other languages followed.
Which reminded me that the previous night with the Red Heron group I had actually, for the first time ever, tried translating one of my own Irish language poems to English, live on stage! The effort went down very well and many said that the stumbles were proof indeed that the translation was being done “on the hoof!” The poem in question is “Layla” and was a winner in the 2013 Frances Browne Multi-Lingual Poetry Competition. I had also read this for the Irish-language TV station, TG4, on stage in the Wexford Arts Centre as part of a programme on the famous Cáca Milis Cabaret. The following link will take you to that interview/reading.
What is also relevant is that in the same interview I spoke about how much I love reading poetry aloud for an audience. when I do that, my understanding of my own work changes when renewed through the prism of a live audience. I am grateful to WISPA for giving me the chance to do so much of that in Wales.