Trafika Europe Corner
Even after his visit to Ivan the Ghostseer, Nicholas had more skepticism than any real belief in the legends and myths that so many shared with him (from scientists and scholars to street cleaners and check-out girls), though it was all in fun. There was a consistency in what they said with small variations, a kind of collective mass awareness of the subject. One incident shifted him a little closer toward belief – a visit to the Castle at Pidhirtsi with his friend Vira, his actress friend from the Zankovetsky Theater.
For a long time, people believed that the mysterious apparition may have been an escaped circus or zoo animal until, one evening, the blind old wife from the village of Evil Vale shared with the others what only she could see clearly: “It’s not about only one bear, there’s a lot of them. They haven’t accidentally drifted here, they are meant to bring life back to these mountains."
It’s a treat in this month’s Trafika Europe Corner to hear, read, and see her work from the Faroe Islands in three media – with two short poems that she’s written and recorded in Faroese language, then translated for us into her native English, accompanied here by a couple of her photographs. Some clear essence of this very remote island life – situated between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean – certainly comes through in these concentrated parcels.
I am now trying to write about all this but words are never enough to describe the loss of words. The words of my own language had become objects already then, the words of the other language are objects too, maybe even more gnarled and barbed. Every day they must be brought from a storage room under your house, where they lie dusty and crammed like appliances and bicycle wheels; then you must carry them up on your back and carefully arrange them, so that simultaneously with the text you also build the walls of the house, so that you have a bed to sleep in, a cup in which to pour the coffee.
In her poetry and conversation, Langa acknowledges a debt to a wide swath of European poets – to Auden and Cavafy, Rimbaud and Joyce, Rilke and Tomas Tranströmer. Yet she is a quintessentially Latvian poet, building on the massive folk tradition unique to this Baltic country, stretching right back to its Sanskrit roots.
Hello and Welcome to Trafika Europe Corner, a new column on Ohio Edit! Over the coming months, we’ll share with you some great new poetry and fiction from authors across Europe – exclusive stuff you won’t find in our regular journal.