Friday, November 30, 2012

Valzhyna Mort - Mid-West Poets Series

After work last night I headed to The Mixx for dinner. It was a grueling day and I had not eaten lunch. A Mixx salad sounded like just what I needed and I had a but of time to kill before heading over to Rockhurst for the Midwest Poets Series reading by Valzhyna Mort.

I've miss the last couple of MW Poet Series readings but this one I've had on my radar. I first heard about Valahyna Mort in a Poets & Writers magazine maybe three years ago or so.

Valzhyna started her reading in  Belarusian her native tongue. While not able to understand - the words had a familiarity. I too two years of Russian in high school and while I have retained little of the Russian the sounds were quite similar and I found the sharpness and the harshness of the language amazingly comforting. Her speech is soft but powerful. Her writing too shows a powerful command of language. These two components are interesting given the fact that she approached the microphone with just a bit of shyness maybe trepidation.

In Belarusian I  as in other of her poems she blends a sociopolitical landscape into her work and does it well...

"even our mothers have no idea how we were born
how we parted their legs and crawled out into a world
the way you crawl from the ruins after a bombing"
In one poem in memory of a book, I can tell you that everyone around me was hanging on to every word.

Valzhyna  is a small woman of physical proportions but her poetic voice has strength and resonance. In her book Factory of Tears there is a  line that makes me think of her...

as thin
as your
I've been in need of an Artist's date and this was reading was just what I needed.

Additional biographical information:
Valzhyna Mort - Wikipedia 

A video clip (August 2008 in Brooklyn)

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