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 bornIn one poem in memory of a book, I can tell you that everyone around me was hanging on to every word.
how we parted their legs and crawled out into a world
the way you crawl from the ruins after a bombing"
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...
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)