I'm back from the POEM/FACE festival, an intense and unsettling experience that, like my suitcase, I am still unpacking. It was a festival of firsts: It was the first time many of the French poets had met each other, and the first time any of them had met their translators. It was also the first time for many of them to the United States (luckily, they were able to change their train tickets so as to permit a stopover in NYC, so that their only experience of the U.S. would not be New London (unexpectedly interesting as it was)), or for others, their last visit was so long ago, or so short a visit, as to be null.
It was the first time in a while I've spoken so much French for so many days, but not the first time I've been embarassed by how limited my speaking ability is. And oy, how rusty like an ancient iron door.
It was the first time that Michèle Métail and I met, and read together.
It was the first time I heard
Michele Metail read, and don't think I'm hyperbolic when I say it's an incredible experience. The second night of the reading, as she read from the scroll of "The Route of Five Feet," letting it drop to the floor, she began whispering the verses until her lips were moving with no sound at all. I don't think I've ever felt an audience lean more raptly forward in their seats.
It was also the first time I ate dinner in a house that contained a painting by J.M.W. Turner:
The first time I've been to a house with ocean on three sides and with three poets to admire it: from left, Anne Portugal, Jean-Jacques Poucel and Michèle Métail.
The first time, I believe, that David Lespiau, Sébastien Smirou and Anne Portugal have sat together on a couch in a house containing a Turner painting.
The first time Sabine Macher and Jean-Jacques Poucel have 1) done yoga together and 2) danced the "Mischmaschfishdrum" together.
I've got lots more photos and lots more stories to tell, but right now I'm exhausted from going to New London nightclubs last night with the indefatigable Anne Portugal, a long drive today back to NYC, an emotional reunion with Ismael and Rich (and today is simultaneously our wedding anniversary, father's day, and the solstice), and I'm finding it insanely irritating to post photos to Blogger (why does it post all photos automatically to the top?). So, alors, à demain. (But if you're hungry for details now, please visit Smirou's blog).
Labels: Anne Portugal, David Lespiau, FACE festival, Michèle Métail, Sabine Macher, Sébastien Smirou