Monday, April 28, 2008

vienna lit fest 2008 - day 3 & after

so here's day 3: after the late nights, i had a bit of a sleep-in on saturday and so the day kind of started with rommi smith's poetry in performance workshop. it was fantastic. we did some great warming-up exercises: breathing, voice, relaxing our muscles. the tasks that rommi set us were really good. i had been a bit scared that i would not be able to come up with anything, because i have been blocked so long, but i did come up with quite a lot of lines, and i have continued to work on one poem begun at the workshop. at the end, rommi performed one of her poems (the theme was slave trade and abolition thereof) - it actually gave me goosebumps.

rommi smith showing us how to perform poetry

at night, i met up with valerio, and we went to ratpack once more. we missed the discussion lifting the veil, about the relationship of western culture with the islamic world, which i was interested in, but i simply could not make it. we were, however, perfectly on time for charles ofoedu's performance. charles is nigerian but has lived here for a long time now. he did not only read poetry, he also talked a little about his experiences in jail and the deaths of black friends of his who were mistreated by the austrian police.

next up was jackie kay. my poet friend john siddique had told me she was a must-see. and he was right, of course. it felt as if jackie were at home in her lounge room entertaining a bunch of friends. what bonding with the audience! she's so funny as well - and her poetry and prose are wonderful, too. i managed to grab one of the last books available and have it signed. :)

the lovely jackie kay

after this highlight, another one: rommi smith performing poems from her collection mornings and midnights. and i mean performing, not reading. she was supported by kenny higgins on bass, and some of her lines were whispered, others sung ... amazing what she does with her voice. the poems explore the life of a fictitious jazz diva who used to tour with several jazz legends and who has just read about her own death in some paper. rommi really had everyone's attention. wow.

rommi smith, mid-performance

of course we did not go home after the performances, but we talked to jackie and clare and rommi; clare told us some more stories as we were sitting around a table with bruno, ruth, harold, valerio and a few others, sipping beers or cocktails ... it was great, and i was pretty high on all the buzz and fun and lit vibes.

ladies swapping secrets: jackie and clare

bruno and valerio trying to squeeze my brain to a pulp

clare, nicely decorated, with johnny unger, not so nicely decorated, in the background

and it would not have been v & me if we had not walked all the way to karlsplatz afterwards. it was *really* late when i got home!

on sunday, i met up with clare and rommi in the afternoon and we spent a good hour chatting and sitting/walking in the sun. they are two exceptionally lovely women, and a lot of fun.

clare was off on monday morning, but rommi was still in town, and valerio and i went out to a cocktail bar with her, monday night. interesting conversation, laughter, and some poetry talk. very nice. very.

that was the 2008 lit fest. many, many thanks to julia novak and her team once again, for making all that happen. i hope there will be another one soon.

i still have not had time to edit many of the pics, but once i have them on flickr, i will post a link here.

song of the day: linger by the cranberries.


Sharon Hurlbut said...

Wow, it looks like so much fun! I hope you know I'm living vicariously through you and your partying literary life. Now, when are you going to come back and write with us again?

Anonymous said...

ditto the above. on all counts. so lovely to see that smile-- those lively eyes all a-sparkle-- the glow and blush.