Saturday, 19 July 2008

Watershed 5: The Lithuanian for shed

One of the joys of poetry festivals is meeting poets from many different backgrounds and traditions. Ledbury was no exception with poets from Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden and Syria. The preponderant representation of shed-erecting cultures was pure coincidence. It was especially good to meet up again with Merja Virolainen from Finland who read for THE SOUTH during this year's Brighton Festival Fringe.


Lithuanian poet Marcelijus Martinaitis

At the Reception on the first evening I met Laima Vince Sruoginis, a Lithuanian poet and Fulbright scholar who is teaching at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. She introduced me to Marcelijus Martinaitis, whose poetry she has translated into English. They were intrigued by Shedman and the British cultural obsession with sheds, especially Marcelijus, who told me via Laima that he pictured his character Kukatis in one of his poems in a garden shed.

It was real pleasure to meet all the poets and thanks to them I now know the Lithuanian, Latvian, Swedish, Finnish, etc for shed. If any of you check in here please feel free to correct my spelling as the cider seems to have affected my notes!

Shed

Finnish:
varasto garden or outdoor store
maja tree house or small building
mökki wooden cottage or play house
mörskä delapidated building usually wooden

Latvian:
šķūnis

Lithuanian:
darzine

Swedish:
skjul, koja


Laima told me that at the end of the era of Russian control in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital , a small group of sheds were erected near the Cathedral. People lit candles all round the sheds and tourists would often comment how picturesque they were, not realising that the sheds were honouring imprisoned protestors on hunger strike.

A mass grave in Vilnius sheds light on a catastrophic military campaign that changed the course of Europe.

om/napoleon_graves.htm

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