Knowing me, knowing you

Onsdag, 24 Augusti 2011 11:22


One of the reasons why I’m such a devoted Poetry Rider is the aspect of really getting to know the participating poets and other hang-arounds. Networking isn’t something that automatically happens when you put people in the same room (or sometimes it does, if you’re lucky). The Poetry Ride has two aspects that help people to get to know each other, and those are working together to make the readings a success and enduring the hardships of travelling together as a group.

We have never had a foolproof formula for the readings, but they are always different depending on the individual circumstances. Sometimes local performers contribute to the program, sometimes it’s just us. Sometimes Poetry Ride is a part of a festival, sometimes it is an individual event. When you are performing something live, and especially in ever-changing circumstances, there is always an element of surprise. That is what makes the readings so unique but also quite demanding for our performers. They, and also us other Poetry Riders, work a lot to make the readings memorable. And there are many guest performers, festival organizers and local hosts from previous years that I remember with warm feelings and hope to work with them again. The picture is from last year’s reading in Riga during the Latvian poetry festival Dzejas Dienas in Satori ¼ book store. Thanks again to them and other great partners from years passed! The Poetry Ride is really a cooperation of a huge group of people. But yes, it gives us more than it takes. A strong circle of people you know (or more fashionably put, a network) is born when you invest your mental energy into a common process.

It might also help if you have something that you can whine about together, be it endless sitting on a bus, getting up too early or a slave-driving producer. Although actually our poets don’t whine, the worst they can do is to show a slightly unhappy face in the bus six o’clock in the morning. Well, actually all of this just proves that to achieve something, you have to be ready to come out of your comfort zone in many ways, some more literal than others. And yes, now when there are only a couple of days left before the tour starts, I certainly feel that my comfort zone is somewhere far, far away…


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My name is Jenni Kallionsivu and I’m a devoted Poetry Rider! Which means that I make a festival called Poetry Ride happen together with my Latvian colleague, poet and translator Guntars Godinš and several other fantastic people. I work in the Finnish Institute in Estonia helping people to network and organising all kinds of interesting events.  Living a multilingual life as a Finn living in Estonia and blogging in English keeps my brain healthy and fit. So a multilingual poetry festival is a great way to celebrate the beauty of languages and honor the art of translating, and that is what this blog is about. You can write to me at

The Poetry Ride project has received funding through the module Production-based activities.