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Not Mentioning the War

Posted by Gerdur Kristny, 8th November 2012

At Hull, with Ben Styles (Arc Intern), audience member, Sarah Hymas, Bejan Matur, Peter Knaggs and Gerdur Kristny
At Hull, with Ben Styles (Arc Intern), audience member, Sarah Hymas, Bejan Matur, Peter Knaggs and Gerdur Kristny

My poetry book Bloodhoof, wich is named after a horse, has taken me to many countries this year, f.ex. Finland, Denmark and Indonesia. In June I unsaddled him in London where I was invited to the Parnassus poetry festival. It was wonderful to be back in London in October where my nine day long Arc-tour in the U.K. started. I even stayed at the same hotel as during the Parnassus festival so I couldn't help feeling a bit nostalgic when I entered the lobby.

The Icelandic Embassy hosted my first reading. I was fortunate to have my translator Rory McTurk there so he read his translation of the book. Rory attended also to the reading in Leeds. The audience was often very interested in the translation process and Rory answered their many questions.

In Hebden Bridge we read with two local poets, Amanda Dalton and Anne Caldwell, which was very nice. I really liked meeting them and hearing their poetry. Amanda happened to be as interested about the Finnish Moomin-books as me. In Hull I met among others the poet Shane Rhodes. We found out that we both love Charles Bukowski's poem 'For Jane': "225 days under grass and you know more than I. they have long taken your blood ..." When you can talk about beautiful poetry you don't have to discuss the cod war.

One of many highlights of the tour was visiting the Brontë museum in Haworth and Sylvia Plath's grave in Heptonstall where people have left hundreds of pens. I found a lipstick there too - a cheap one. We will probably not get any fancy stuff from Chanel or Dior after we are dead and gone. I do hope there is some kind of a tax-free store at the end of the tunnel where we can get some luxury on our way to our new dwellings. When Angela Jarman, of Arc, knew that I had been at Sylvia's grave she asked me if I had resisted the temptation to put a Moomin sticker on the headstone and yes, actually I did! I didn't leave anything there. On the other hand I would have preferred tidying up a bit there.

The last reading was in Bangor in Wales. The audience was great and a lot of copies of Bloodhoof were sold but that is not what makes this day so memorable. It was on the 24th of October - the day Oscar was born, Angela Jarman's grandson. I did not even try to resist the temptation to send the new born a soft Moomin. They might need each other.