• May 26, 2014
  • 166

Mieczkowski: Personally I avoid using the word ”boarderlands”

Antoni Radczenko

Poetic Festival “Maj nad Wilią” began this morning as usual next to the Adam Mickiewicz statue. This year the festival has broadened its geographic horizons considerably. Artists from Ethiopia and Philippines are among this year’s participants.

This year’s central motto is „Why Polish Poet wrote: „Oh, Lithuania, my country, Thou…”? The thing about the Republic’s common legacy”. “Looking for the identity in multicultural conditions. Those will be dialogues about the Republic’s, the Grand Duchy and Crown’s common legacy. But what have remained from that? I think that something remained and not only in architecture and cemetery but also in Polish local people mentality who are somehow different people from Poles living in the central Poland. Something remained in culture through foreign influences. Through Lithuanian foreign influences that were used by Mickiewicz. Something remained through syntax and thinking. Here there is this kind of stereo Poles who are people with more complex thinking” – explained to zw.lt Romuald Mieczkowski, a poet and festival’s organizer.

Not only poets and artists from Lithuania participate in the festival, but also ones from all over the world. Polish writer who permanently lives in Germany, Brygida Helbig, came to Vilnius. Her novel “Niebko”, which is currently nominated for the Nike award, mostly tells the story of her family’s borderland history. “Personally I avoid using the word “borderland” and if I use it I do it as a historical term or in some context. This term revives itself in the mentality of coming poets or their poetry because it is deep-rooted in Polish tradition. For me the closer term is “the culture of the marches”. (…) Recently writers and poets who are not even Polish also associate Vilnius with borderlands, so with Mickiewicz, Słowacki, Kraszewski or Miłosz. This is the topic we cannot avoid” – R. Mieczkowski said in the interview with zw.lt.

Polish poet with Ethiopian roots who lives from 1985 in Poland, Seifu Gerbu, also came to the festival. S. Gerbu is not only a poet but he also has his own business. “Before taking up business I had lectured on the University of Poznań for 15 years. Actually, I was doing business back in Ethiopia as well – when I was in school I helped my brothers in running their business. I am accustomed to it from the beginning” – explained poet to zw.lt. Up till now his poems were published only in anthologies but soon his first volume of verse is to appear.

Today in Pac Palace (Pałac Paców) a conference about the common legacy of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth is to take place, tomorrow there is planned trip. The programme has open nature – organizers warmly invite all interested people.

Source: http://zw.lt/wilno-wilenszczyzna/mieczkowski-osobiscie-unikam-slowa-kresy/

Tłumaczenie by Małgorzata Łabuda w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Małgorzata Łabuda within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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