After the Festival
An invitation to Kosovo came to me as a pleasant surprise. Two summers ago I was in Albania and gave a reading at a newly opened café in Tirana. I only have good memories from that trip. Then earlier this year Fahredin wrote me to invite me over to his town, saying I had been referred to by my Albanian friend Olimbi. I was more than eager to join them. This is how I get to know the lovely town of Rahovec and its people.
The whole festival was illuminating. I met awesome international poets with strong voices all gathered there by Fahredin’s vision. Vision is the most important thing in the world. Everything materializes around it. He called to us, we responded. That’s how our voices were brought together in one.
With very limited knowledge of the country’s history I walked around the town blocks as a total stranger. Children looked at me interestedly. I talked to them and they responded with visible joy. We didn’t share a common language but smiles. I went into small restaurants in town and ordered dishes only with hand signs. They worked perfectly well and the folks treated me very nicely. Unforgettable moments are often very ordinary ones such as these: ordinary, yet peaceful and fully empowered. I loved the town and the region.
Poetry as a linguistic art is itself powerless. But it can change people’s attitude and the land’s atmosphere. It is always a way to discovery, communication, and festivity. Poetry surfaces from between language and silence, and also from the interface between different languages. These things I learned once again, anew, in Rahovec, Kosovo, with all my new friends. With you, that is.