Poetry center hosts Festival of Listening
While it might sound like gibberish to the untrained ear, it’s actually one of the lines from Residential College in the Arts and Humanities junior Jenny Crakes’s favorite poem in Yiddish.
Crakes chose this poem to read aloud in this year’s annual Festival of Listening at SCENE Metrospace on Thursday.
Her poem, written by Sarah Moskovitz and titled “A Nes,” or in English, “A Miracle,” is about an elderly couple.
“I think it’s great to have this event because you get to experience the poems in different languages and the rhythm they were meant to be spoken in their original language,” Crakes said.
The Festival of Listening is an annual event put on by the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities Center for Poetry and aims to celebrate the beauty of the spoken word by allowing students the opportunity to present poems in foreign languages.
This year, 15 people signed up to be a part of the event. There was also an open mic portion where unregistered speakers could present poems.
Arts coordinator and Director of the Center for Poetry Anita Skeen said the event focuses on the beauty and music-like quality of spoken word poetry and the untranslated works allow listeners to draw their own meaning and experience a small part of poetry in different cultures.
“People in our culture do not listen often to poetry read aloud in English, much less in a language other than English,” she said. “Perhaps it will inspire them to read poetry in a language other than English, whether in translation or in the original.
“I also hope people will understand that we are all part of a global community, with different languages, but with the same hopes and fears and dreams which we put down in writing and call poems,” Skeen said.
Assistant Director of the Center for Poetry Linnea Jimison helped to line up presenters for the event, and said she thought of the festival as more of a concert.
“I think it’s easy to forget that poetry is meant to be read aloud; it’s an auditory art as well as a literary one,” she said. “The participants are usually very excited to present their language to an audience because for many, it represents an important part of their cultural heritage that they are eager to share with others.”