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Latvians and Brits Translate Each Other’s Poems

December 9, 2016

From 7th until 12th September, an international Poetry Translation Workshop was held in Riga. Eight poets from Latvia and Britain translated each other’s works during the workshop, and the project was concluded with a public poetry reading in the cosy book café “NicePlace Mansards”.

Latvia was represented in the workshop by Inga Gaile, Anna Auziņa, Krišjānis Zeļģis, Valts Ernštreits and US-born literary agent and translator from Latvia, Jayde Will, whereas poets Ryan van Winkle, Alys Conran, and Rhys Trimble were the participants from the UK.

It was the first time such a translation workshop was held in Latvia. The project was a part of the process preparing Latvia for the London Book Fair 2018 where Latvia, along with its Baltic neighbours, is going to be the Market Focus. “The long-term goal of this project is to generate mutual interest among poets, promote collaboration between them, as well as create professional translations of poems to be performed in venues in the UK,” explained the project manager Inga Bodnarjuka-Mrazauska.

Let’s see how it went and what the participants thought about this experience:

Valts Ernštreits, Latvia

“These five days in September was an opportunity to do something unusual, to try my hand at working with languages and forms of poetry that I don’t even get to encounter every day, and to do it in a relaxed yet productive way. There was always a chance to inquire, clear up, pinpoint, and along with the answers get to know something new about other participants of the workshop, other lands, ways of life, and about oneself as well. There was a kind of a lively festival feel to it.”

Krišjānis Zeļģis, Latvia

“I was surprised by how much time translation takes. When you get to the finer details, it turns out, a poem can have eternal depth. Since we were able to ask the authors what is it all about, the story surrounding each poem expanded more and more. Every word like a stone, when turned upside down, revealed that there is a lot more than it seemed at first.”

Anna Auziņa, Latvia

“I was very lucky with this workshop since I liked the authors whose works I was translating. When discussing the texts, we understood each other with no problems. We only had an argument with Ryan on the last day with regards to the performance, however, it turned out to be a misunderstanding for the most part. Being able to mutually translate poems and delve into the texts of our English-speaking colleagues reminded me what a freedom it is to write poetry and how much I love it.”

Ryan Van Winkle, UK

“This compelling group of contemporary Latvian and British poets spent a week delving into each other’s work and lives. It was an productive and intimate process which earned us many new translations, stories, memories and friendships. We hope the work shows the closeness we were lucky enough to share and that we’ll be able to continue working together in the future.”

Rhys Timble, North Wales

“I found the workshops and interactions with poets in Latvia to be incredibly fun and fruitful. We had a great performance and formed what I hope will be an ongoing relationship between the poets involved. I won’t forget my small Latvian vocabulary or my Latvian colleague’s attempts at Welsh! I have a spare stick waiting with one of the organisers which I intend to use soon!”

The poetry translation workshop was organized in collaboration with international platforms “European Literature Live” and “Literature Across Frontiers”, as well as online literary magazines “Poetry Wales” and “The Wolf Magazine”. Similar workshops and readings with various poets are planned in Latvia and Great Britain also in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Ryan features at Blind Poetics

December 4, 2016

I’ll be the feature poet at the next Blind Poetics, 8pm Monday 12 December, at the Blind Poet on West Nicolson Street.

December’s Blind Poetics aims to see off 2016 with a good kick up the arse. It’s been relentlessly shit so join us in a festive night of spoken word to bring cheer, mince pies and a ho-ho-ho hangover due to drinking all that awful mulled wine.

December’s feature performer is Ryan Van Winkle:
RYAN VAN WINKLE is a poet, live artist, podcaster and critic living in Edinburgh. His second collection, The Good Dark, won the Saltire Society’s 2015 Poetry Book of the Year award. His poems have appeared in New Writing Scotland, The Prairie Schooner and The American Poetry Review.

Plus our seasonal Jingle Bells open mic. Book a 5 minute slot by emailing us at blindpoetics@gmail.com. Here’s how we run the open mic: https://blindpoetics.wordpress.com/open-mic/

Free and unticketed. On street parking available for reindeers.

Hosted by Alec Beattie and Roddy Shippin.

Northern Lights – Voices From the Arctic

November 24, 2016

This Monday 28 Nov from 6:45pm – 9:00pm, at the Free Word Centre, London, I’ll be hosting Northern Lights, an evening of poetry, performance and film to begin Highlight Arctic, a year-long multi-arts festival from and about the circumpolar North.

To kick off Hightlight Arts’ Highlight Arctic festival we’re hosting an evening of poetry, performance and films from and about the circumpolar North. It’s a chance to learn about the environmental issues the region is facing and to hear from its poets who will perform some of their work.

The Arctic climate is transforming at an alarming rate – with rising temperatures, melting ice and changing ecosystems. Areas that were previously inaccessible are now opening up and bringing changes to the economy and communications. Life for local inhabitants is changing fast.

Following COP22 (7-18 November 2016), Jessie Kleemann, Inuit poet and performance artist, and Niillas Holmberg, Sámi poet, musician, actor and activist will perform work that reflects on the Arctic region and the current global political issues that it is facing.

We’ll also present two films by Arctic-based filmmakers reflecting on the impacts of climate change on Arctic communities and landscapes. We’ll start the evening with a screening of Pitaqangittuq (32 mins) and invite you to stay for a screening of Hollow Earth directly after the performances (23 mins).

Come and be part of our journey to the Arctic.

With thanks to the Embassy of Denmark in the United Kingdom and the Embassy of Finland, London.

More information about the speakers and films

Niillas Holmberg has published five collections of poems in Sámi language. He will perform a selection of poems about the Sámi people’s connection with nature and discuss how this is being lost through intrusive development in the region and the tourist industry’s appropriation of traditional livelihoods.

Jessie Kleemann‘s poems were first published in her book Taallat in 1997. She will perform poems, written in Kalaallisut (Greenlandic), Danish and English that combine mystic, natural imagery and traditional Inuit motifs with stories of current ‘everyday’ life in the Arctic, highlighting social issues and the effects of environmental change in the region.

Pitaqangittuq (2010 – Dir. Guillaume Ittukssarjuat Saladin, Félix Pharand D., Nicolas Tardif)

In the isolated Arctic community of Pitaqangittuq (Nunavut), the climate is warming at an alarming rate, but it’s inhabitants are determined to adapt to their changing world by utilizing their ancestral survival skills and creativity.

Hollow Earth (2014 – Dir. Tanya Busse & Emilija Skarnulyte)

Hollow Earth is a visual meditation and examination of contemporary resource conditions within the circumpolar areas of the North. Combining research material, landscape shots and archival footage, this short film hopes to reflect over the changing image of the North, as a site where violence, desire, greed, and emotions are played out.

About Highlight Arctic

With a population of four to five million people, the Arctic is home to 40 different ethnic groups and languages living in 50 different ecological areas, all of which have adapted in ingenious ways to this unique environment. Traditional Arctic cultures, languages and lifestyles that still exist today depend massively on their natural environment, making them particularly vulnerable to the current challenges presented by climate change. Highlight Arctic will bring together artists with different cultural backgrounds and diverse practices, all sharing a common interest in improving our understanding of the ongoing changes in the Arctic. The environmental issues that the Arctic faces are shared all around the High North, and artists from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Greenland, north-west Russia and Canada will participate in the year-long festival.

Speakers

Yasmin Al-Hadithi

Yasmin Al-Hadithi is a filmmaker and audio-visual artist whose work has screened at festivals internationally. With a background in Visual Anthropology, she is an active member of practice-based research collective Akoo-o and has taught film and film literacy programmes in Scotland and the USA. Her study at University of Edinburgh focused on the Inupiaq of Northern Alaska – with an emphasis on Traditional Ecological Knowledge and the portrayal of Inuit people and culture in photography and film. Yasmin joined Highlight Arts as a producer in 2009, and is co-Director of Highlight Arctic.

Niillas Holmberg

Niillas Holmberg – Sámi poet, musician, actor and activist.

Holmberg was born in 1990 in Ohcejohka (Utsjoki) in northern Finland. He is an award-winning poet, has published five books of poetry in the Sámi language and has been translated into more than ten languages. In 2015 he was awarded the Lapland Art Prize, Premio Giovani Literature Prize and nominated for the Nordic Council Literature Prize. He also performs internationally as a musician playing Arctic folk, electronic and world music.

Jessie Kleeman

Jessie Kleemann – Inuit poet and performance artist.

Kleemann was born in Upernavik in northern Greenland in 1959 and now lives in Copenhagen, Denmark. She has participated in Nordic and international exhibitions as well as in many one-person exhibitions. As a poet, she has represented Greenland at Nordic and international literary events. She is especially known for her provocative performance art, in which she has developed a form of ‘body art’ based on ancient masque performances, with themes of heritage, land and myth. She writes and performs in her mother tongue (Kalaallisut), Danish and English.

Golden Hour is Off The Shelf

November 21, 2016

The International Literature showcase named the Golden Hour as one of the 5 literary events which excite and inspire. Thanks to all the talented friends & artists who made it so fun to put together.

Clive James: Lenses Shiver

November 15, 2016

Clive James: Lenses Shiver from QPF on Vimeo.

My interview with Australian poet and essayist Clive James from the Queensland Poetry Festival is now live.

Ryan at International Nilüfer Poetry Festival

November 3, 2016

From 3-5 November I’ll be at the International Nilüfer Poetry Festival in Turkey. If you’re in Northern Turkey, do come and say hello.

Thursday 3 November

19.30: Konak Cultural Center – “What’s Inside Poets’ Backpack?” – Poetry Readings

(Participant Poets: Ahmet Telli, Birhan Keskin, Darija Zilic, Deniz Durukan, Emel İrtem, Hans Thill, Hilmi Haşal, Hüseyin Yurttaş, küçük İskender, Marc Delouze, Ryan Van Winkle, Tara Skurtu, Ülkü Tamer, Zafer Şenocak, Zoe Skoulding)

Friday 4 November

14.00: The Şahinkaya School – “The Sound of Poetry is Together with the Youth”

“What Does The Poetry Do To Us ?” – Talk

(Participants: Darija Zilic, Deniz Durukan, Emel İrtem, Ryan Van Winkle)

Saturday 5 November

“Poetry Against Nuclear Power” Peace Pledge Union Project Manifesto Reading by Mustafa Köz -Turkish Writers’ Union President

Poetry Readings by: Ahmet Telli, Darija Zilic, Deniz Durukan, Emel İrtem, Hilmi Haşal, Hüseyin Yurttaş, Karin Karakaşlı, Marc Delouze, Orhan Alkaya, Ryan Van Winkle, Tara Skurtu , Ülkü Tamer, Zafer Şenocak, Zoe Skoulding.

The Golden Hour presents… BONE DIGGER

October 25, 2016

On Sunday 30 October, 6pm til late, The Golden Hour presents … BONE DIGGER, in which we don our masks & give ourselves a fright.

Poetic Haunted House & Music from:

2Man(l)yDJs, Kirsten AdamsonAtzi LipsyncHailey Beavis, Tessa Berring +Kathrine Sowerby, Bungalow, Ericka DuffyFaith Eliott + Phoebe Nicholson,Emily FongColin HerdInvisible DearsMargarida Jorge + Kate MacDougall, MacGillivary + Alexis Thompson, Iain McGregor, Nic E Melville,MeursaultJed MilroyIain MorrisonNow Wakes the Sea, Bart Owl,Stephen PatersonCammy SinclairSinkSuited & Booted, Danni Szerszynska, Tim TurnbullUrban Farm Hand + more to be announced soon

www.thegoldenhourevent.com

(Please note, unfortunately the Dissection Room is not an accessible venue for those using wheelchairs.)

Tickets are £7 advance, £9 on the door, and 5 for £25 advance.

‘Western Town’ published in Umbrellas of Edinburgh

My poem ‘Western Town’ has been published in the upcoming anthology Umbrellas of Edinburgh, a collection of poetry and prose from over 70 writers and published by Freight Books. It is edited by Claire Askew and Russell Jones.

A word from the editors, Claire Askew and Russell Jones…

Scotland’s capital is a vibrant, diverse and modern city, cultivated by people from around the world. It’s filled with cutting edge art, international cuisines, theatres and pubs, bright minds and masonry, dark side streets and sinister stories. Edinburgh is a hub for literary inspiration and ambition, hosting the world’s largest literary festival, and it’s the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature. But pick up a collection of writing about Edinburgh, and you’re often faced with the same list of names: dead white men.

As editors, we were keen to reflect the diversity of Edinburgh and its people, and to shift the existing (dead white men) focus through a more contemporary lens. This anthology includes work from writers of colour, writers who identify as LGBTQIA+, who live with disabilities, writers who have lived in countries other than Scotland, and its contributors predominantly identify as women.

Our brief to the writers was simple: choose a location in Edinburgh and write about it. Between these pages you’ll find explorations of architecture, fragments of memories, views of potential futures, romps in hedgerows, summer picnics, hard winters, love, loss and the moments in between. These poems and short stories show us that the city is inseparable from its people, and it’s the voices of our times which add colour and meaning to the brickwork. But it also shows us that Edinburgh is still a great source of inspiration for its inhabitants and those who pass through it; it takes them on journeys, through which the people and the city are forever altered.

 

Ryan is Elemental

September 30, 2016

At 7pm, Monday 17 October, I’ll be at the Glasgow Science Centre for Elemental, a night of poems, music and cinema about science, art and the universe. I’ll be reading alongside Sean M Whelan, Emilie Zoey Baker and Alicia Sometimes, tickets are £5. Hope to see you there.

Elemental is a unique exploration of science, art and the universe showcased under the spectacular dome theatre of the planetarium. Poets, musicians, sound and video artists – and world-renowned science writer John Gribbin – have collaborated to present the world of the most literary, dazzling and passionate stars.

For centuries, poets have looked to the skies and attempted to scribble meaning into the galaxies. The novelist Peter de Vries once wrote, ‘The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination, but the combination is locked up in the safe.’ What if we had a key, even if only for a moment? What if we could measure, in words, what we have only imagined? Einstein took the view, ‘the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible.’ What if he is right?

The artists involved in this show explore four different theories of the beginnings of the universe: The Big Bang, The Theory of Everything, Dark Matter and M Theory. Are these the lost poetic lectures of the beginning of time?

The show has many exciting components: Legendary UK experimental musicians Nurse with Wound’s work is based on the theory that the resonant frequency of the Big Bang was F#. Sean M Whelan, Emilie Zoey Baker, Alicia Sometimes and Edinburgh based Ryan Van Winkle are writing for the stars. Science, poetry and music all under the one roof.

mother/bird and Fishing with Birds published in Sidekick’s ‘Birdbook IV’

September 27, 2016

My poems ‘mother/bird’ and ‘Fishing with Birds’ have been published in Sidekick Books’ Birdbook IV: Saltwater and Shore. It’s the fourth and final anthology in the series.

You can purchase the anthology direct from Sidekick Books, from Inpress Books, or in your usual book dispensary.

Saltwater and Shore is the final volume of Sidekick’s wildly ambitious Birdbook series – a collaborative alternative ornothopedia where every species gets equal billing. This time we find ourselves flung beyond the limits of the island, before being gathered in again at its outcrops, outposts, briny mouths and sandy fringes, where well-established stars like the puffin jostle with the lesser-known knot, scaup and razorbill, the whimbrel, spoonbill and turnstone. It’s a bustling, polyphonic cliffside colony of a book, a multitude of individual voices and dynamic images poised to spill into the air and take flight in the willing imagination.

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