We are all learning to marvel at the below ground networks that connect the trees in a forest into a greater whole. It has been a marvel of the lockdowns that writers and artists who could no longer meet face to face have been able to meet up on zoom and remain connected to each other’s work. The Waste Land Revisited project, bringing together writers from so many different places, was made possible by this.
Before the pandemic divided us, I was privileged to be a distantly adopted part of an inspiring North Italian poetry group fostered by the Pordenone poet, Claudio Moras. I once had the joy of reading with this group in Sacile and have been able to stay in touch with Claudio through my Facebook Page.
This week I received a beautifully produced anthology of poems by the PoeSiamo group to which Claudio belongs. Its title, Andreis, refers to small village in the Cellina Valley in western Friuli. The poems are inspired by country landscapes, local myths and, above all, by the poetry of Federico Tavan who was born in Andreis and lived there until his death in 2013. Six PoeSiamo poets are represented in Andreis: Cristina Centis, Enrica Piovesana, Monica Trevisan, Stefania Ros, Lucian Poletto and Claudio Moras. The municipal council was so impressed by their writings that they have been invited to showcase their work annually, perhaps in collaboration with other groups.
This is how good networks spread, even across distances, even across language barriers. Google Maps tells me that I am 937 miles away from the North Italian village of Andreis and that it would take me 307 hours to walk there from Bath. But even in this pre-pandemic fantasy, I could neither read the poems of Federico Tavan (he writes in Friulano) nor share them with Claudio because we have no common language.
But we have often shared poems, and the very special kind of friendship which seems to exist between people who really believe in the mysterious power and importance of poetry.
Thank you Claudio and thank you to the poets of PoeSiamo for your lovely book. I hope some of you will send me your pictures to add in to this post.
And thank you Claudio for this lovely poem.
I MIEI SOGNI Io non vivo in un sogno vivo con i piedi ben piantati nella terra, magari, mastico parole sputo versi urlo poesie che qualche volta lo sono, dice qualcuno, ma poi a me non importa e vado oltre a tutti gli orizzonti: io continuo a dissodare la terra per seminare i miei sogni. CLAUDIO MORAS And thank you to the secretive translator who makes it possible to share Claudio's poem on my Page.
I do not live in a dream I live with my feet firmly planted on the ground. Maybe I chew words spit out lines bellow poems – well, sometimes they are poems, someone said, but then that does not matter to me. I travel beyond all horizons. I continue to till the earth in order to sow my dreams. CLAUDIO MORAS
The Waste Land Revisited group is currently creating work for live performance which sadly cannot be shared online. But we also have a page poetry project, provisionally titled A Waste Land Almanac, which we hope to see in print. This will contain homage responses to Eliot’s famous April opening lines and London memories by writers in the group. This time next year, if all goes well, I will be sending Claudio a copy of our book.
April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. TS ELIOT