We chose Warsaw due to its literary tradition and importance during relevant events in the XX century. It is the land of brilliant philosophers, musicians and poets. For the latter we consider it an important moment to claim the role of written word in life and human history. This year the city commemorates the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of WWII and the 65th anniversary of Warsaw Uprising. We recognise the unquestionable and universal importance of these historical experiences, still formative of the inhabitants of Warsaw as well as for the identity of Europeans in general.
According to an article in a Chilean newspaper, the group, which consists of poets Julio Carrasco, José Joaquín Prieto and Cristóbal Bianchi, began its poem-bombing campaigns back in 2001, with an event designed to commemorate the 1973 Chilean coup. The 100,000 leaflets dropped over Warsaw included the works of 40 contemporary Polish poets and 40 contemporary Chilean poets translated into Polish. Carrasco assured the newspaper that they were not littering: based on his experience with previous poem-drops, he said that within five minutes after it was over, not a single poem would remain on the street.
There was also a public, bilingual poetry reading in Warsaw two days in advance of what I am beginning to think of as P-day.
Poem by the 20th-century Jewish Hungarian poet Miklós Radnóti. The animation is by Daniel Lagin, “from an illustration by a Hungarian student based on Miklos Radnoti’s poem Root,” according to the information on the video’s YouTube page. This is a deleted scene from a documentary about Radnóti, Neither Memory Nor Magic, directed by Hugo Perez, “the story of a poet who continued to write poetry even as he faced almost certain death, and one poet’s triumph over the inhumanity of his age — a story almost entirely unknown outside of Hungary.”
The original poem, “Wurzel,” is in German (text here).
Poem, installation and explanation by David Morley
Video by University of Warwick, UK
Warwick academic and poet Professor David Morley recently contributed over 80 poems to a “slow art” poetry trail in woodland at Bolton Abbey, North Yorkshire. The “slow poems” are written into natural materials to form a woodland trail and will remain there until they naturally fade and disappear.
The slow art trail aims to raise awareness of environmental issues and explore how artists can develop a more sustainable approach to their creative practice. David Morley, Professor of Creative Writing, was inspired by natural features of the estate including an abandoned Christmas tree plantation, the River Strid, and Barden Tower.
His collection includes ankle-high Haikus written into Elm and longer poems written on easels and fabric. The ‘slow poems’ are designed to be contemplated and enjoyed in the natural woodland and landscape of Bolton Abbey.
The project was developed by Chrysalis Arts – an award-winning public art company which works to regenerate communities by creating public artwork that expresses and reinforces local identity and sense of place.
A brief documentary on the life of Honduran poet Clementina Suarez, focusing on her relationships with painters and painting (more than a hundred artists painted her portrait). This is mostly in Spanish, but includes a few quotes in English from Janet Gold, Suarez’ North American biographer, and is worth watching for the great clips and images alone. Gold says, “If you study Clementina’s life carefully, you inevitably study the history of art in Central America in the whole 20th century.”
The filmmaker, Paula Heredia, is “a Salvadoran film director and editor based in New York” according to the bio on her blip.tv page.
Sonnet 23 by John Milton
Recited by Ian Richardson, from the 1984 TV series “Six Centuries of Verse,” directed by Richard Mervyn
Excerpt of a film by Barry Dornfeld and Maggie Holtzberg-Call