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#Afterhours Blog 8: Dmitry | 20-Feb-15

19/14/15

Dmitry.

Today I found the sixth poem of the #Afterhours project in which I rewrite my childhood through British poetry, by writing poems after/in response to poems published between 1984 and 2002, from when I was born to when I turned 18. 

The poem I chose for 1989 will either be 'Girl' by Simon Armitage or 'Writ in Water' by Charles Boyle, and I'd like to write about the birth of my little sister and what impact it had on my five-year-old mind. Part of the #Afterhours residency involves writing about the library, and about people who use the space, about #PoetryLibraryPeople. 

I meet Dmitry. A soft spoken, silver-ringed, green-scarved, slim-built, lightly greying man. I ask if he has an interest in poetry and he replies he enjoys it a bit, but isn't an avid reader. "I have an interest," he says, "my earliest memory is at school, we had to learn poems off by heart." "Really?" I ask, "Yes, we have to do that in Russia - I'm Russian - and we had to recite it out loud in the mornings. It's a great way to train your memory, so you see, Russians are full of poetry." "What kind of poems?" I ask. "Pushkin's fairy tales" Dmitry says, "I knew them off by heart. In fact," he says slipping into nostalgia, warmth coming to his voice, "I knew them better than my grandmother who taught them to me. I'd get her to recite them and correct her mistakes ha!" "Have you read any of the poems in translation? In English?" "No," he says, "it's very poetic, very difficult to translate, I don't think it is possible, you see, Pushkin is our Shakespeare, he is all about the meter, all about the rhyme, so difficult to translate, perfect all that time."



Read more about the #Afterhours project here

#Afterhours needs your help in suggesting poems for Inua to rewrite, published between 1984 and 2002. You can suggest entire collections for Inua to browse or specific poems from these years. Why not set Inua the challenge of rewriting your favourite poem from this period?  Take a look through your books and magzines at home, search online or access the library's holdings for each year through searching online here

Send your suggestions for Inua to info@poetrylibrary.org.uk or tweet us@wetblackbough @InuaEllams


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