Last night I went to the Kavá, a coffee shop in Todmorden. The Kavá holds a Kulturá evening on the last Thursday of each month. Last night’s event consisted of
Poetry Lecture: Coleridge and Eyes
this was followed by a poetry discussion
Feature Poet: Peter Riley, writer
recent books: The Glacial Stairway and Due North
Open Mic: 8 regional poets
Lecture, feature poet, and open mic are booked in advance. The poetry discussion would interest those with an interest in analysing poetry. This event has less of the spontaneity (and street language) of other meetings I’ve been to, the genteel nature of interaction, being one of its strengths.
I listened to Peter Riley’s readings with some interest. For many years he visited Transylvania in North Romania and from his description, I took this to be in the Carpathian Mountains. These visits prompted a number of poems, some of which formed part of this reading. Within them he noted the ways of life that had changed little over the centuries. Listening prompted the thought that local culture is invariably destroyed (unthinkingly) under the relentless pressure of civilisation. I chatted to Peter after his reading and he said that since Romania joined the European Union, there have been considerable changes, in particular, male members of the family are now absent for considerable periods of time as they seek economic opportunities outside Romania.
The Romanian language is still Romansch which is unusual given their history. As Dacia they were much closer to the East Roman Empire (Greek speaking) than the West. As that Empire declined, they were the logical stop-off point, being on the overland route to Byzantium from the steppes. Some peoples undoubtedly stayed – at the least, this would include elements of the nomadic peoples who wanted no truck with the Turco-Mongol hordes, such as the Polovtsy whose genetic markers form part of the base stock that make up Russians – a decent preponderance of R1a…