Monday, October 25, 2010

Uha / Mulhouse Poetry Club hosted by Yann Kerdiles

Our wonderful Dean of Studies, Yann Kerdiles (pictured here), in the FLSH building works hard to make everyone remember the value of poetry, not only for poetry itself or to promote any one author, but for its eternal international musicality as it crosses borders and languages.

Thus he organizes, once a month, a lovely evening entitled "POETRY CLUB" where students, teachers, people from the community, friends of friends gather and share work of their own or other poets in numerous languages. I was quite honored to begin my life here as new tenured faculty by being invited to be a guest reader at the Poetry Club in September, where a lovely crow showed up for treats and drinks and an evening of readings including my own. I learned that the most languages ever represented at a Poetry Club event was SEVENTEEN! (I remain agog at that) but the evening I read there were certainly a fair number, from English and French, to Berber, Arabic, Chinese, Esperanto and more! When is the next event? The 10th of NOVEMBER (in the room above the Cybercafé inside the RestoU in case anyone is in Mulhouse and wants to go!) and focused on UKRAINIAN poetry! This month's was featuring a work based on a voyage to POLAND. Here are a few pics from the eve in September, where I was the honorary guest and had the great pleasure of meeting and becoming acquainted with the Mulhouse poetry scene!
Snacks galore! Everyone meets everyone thanks to our kind and dynamic host. So we chat with new acquaintances in a variety of langauges while munching on treats catered by the UHA: After, Yann gives his intro to the evening as we settle down in our places. The crowd is warm and interested it seems in whatever the evening might bring to them...

I was very honored to be part of the evening and read a few of the series of Orph/Eury poems which have been translated by the talented Christophe Marchand-Kiss (French poet residing in Paris). Since he could not be there to read the French, and I did not wish to read and have the work filled with my accent, Noelle Cuny--uha professor of English who I have been delighted to be getting to know week by week as we share office space--was kind enough to come over to the Poetry Club and do a great reading of the French texts off the cuff! It was lots of fun.
Then, my part outta the way, I was so happy to sit back with everyone else and listen to so many languages and poems, some accompanied by music, wafting over us.

The readings included one in esperanto (I have now heard him read twice and feel quite guilty to have not gotten his name yet, but will add it here when I do!!!) :

Then here are some guys who are from the local Berber cultural society who played music behind a reading in Berber by the women pictured just afterwards.

Here again (below) we see Yann, constantly helping everyone adjust the microphones and getting them into the groove! I cannot recall in fact the language of this reader (sorry, the event was in Sept) but I like very much the picture pre-performance of him getting into position.

An evening of all-that-poetry can do would not be complete without a little SLAM! This young man came to share some of his slam work in French and to let everyone know about a new poetry slam scene which is trying to increase its membership and visibility in Mulhouse.

He was not the only French reader, here are a pair of students who did a reading with music: a clarinet for one piece and even, for another, a mouth harp!

... And then, the soirée comes to its close but so many people still want to read and to listen. So, as everyone filters out into the full moon night, one of the readers who is just visiting and so wanted to read some poems in Arabic stands under a lamppost to share a few of the poems before everyone heads home with the music of these languages braiding together in various rhythms in their minds.
A lovely eve--and how funny, now that it is getting chilly out, to think we were wearing sandals and summer dresses (well some of us at least) only a little over a month ago!

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