Hello everyone and welcome to a very special post on my blog today. From the 10th-12th April, The London Book Fair will be taking place at Olympia in London. The fair focuses on all parts of the publishing industry and is the perfect marketplace for rights negotiation and sale and distribution of content across all forms of media. Exhibitors from every part of the globe are welcomed and the fair itself is packed full with exciting content including seminars, interviews and workshops. In fact, there are over 200 seminars packed into three days of the fair and with titles such as “From Promotion To Pitching,” and “An Introduction To Kindle Direct Publishing: How To Get Started,” there’s sure to be something for everyone interested/part of the industry.
In 2018, the London Book Fair is choosing to showcase Baltic literature, that is, authors from the countries Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania and I jumped at the chance to feature one such author on my blog. Kārlis Vērdiņš is a Latvian poet and I would like to feature one of his poems, Come To Me on bibliobeth today.
“Writing poetry has always been at the core of Lativan literature and at the heart of our country, but when I was beginning to write in the nineties journalists would often query if the form was as popular as it was in the Soviet times. Now, I understand the different role that poetry has had to play in Latvian life across our county’s history, from oppression to freedom and now, as we celebrate 100 years of our independent state. The role of the poet has evolved. Contemporary poetry still engages with the history of Latvia, the formation of our identity and all that lies in between, but this is alongside work that explores sexuality, gender, body. There is still the political, as there ever will be, but so much more than before there is the personal. Actually one might say: poetry is the way how Latvians think, speak and see the world. Actually there is nothing but poetry in our minds.” – Karlis Verdinš
Come to me by Kārlis Vērdiņš
I was bringing you a little cheese sandwich. It was two in the
morning, everybody sleepy, shops closed but in the I Love You bar
they gave me a little cheese sandwich.
I was in a taxi bringing you a little cheese sandwich ’cause you
were lying there sad, perhaps even ill, and there was nothing good to
eat in the house. Was real expensive, around one lat, but that’s OK.
So I was in the taxi with my little iluvu, all squished, practically
cold. But for some reason I didn’t make it home. Somehow I ended
up where all were merry and witty, and starving. So I drank, I sang,
but I saved my little sandwich.
Must have been the third day when I could finally treat you to it,
you were so angry, you ate the sandwich hardly looking at it. Had I
had more courage, I would have said: but you know I love you, you
know I admire you. Don’t make me say it again.
Come to me by Kārlis Vērdiņš was chosen as one of the greatest love poems from the last 50 years by the Southbank Centre’s Festival of Love.
Karlis Verdinš was born in 1979 in Riga. With an M.A. in Cultural Theory and a Ph.D. in Philology, Verdins is the author of many academic papers (including a book on prose poetry, Bastarda forma, (2010)) and essays on literature, both Latvian and foreign, as well as a prolific literary critic. He has published four volumes of poetry – Ledlauzi(Icebreakers / Riga: Nordic, 2001, 2nd ed. 2009), Biezpiens ar krejumu (Cottage Cheese with Sour Cream / Riga: Atena, 2004), Burtinu zupa (Alphabet Soup, for children, 2007), and Es (I / Riga: Neputns, 2008), all to a great critical and popular acclaim and fetching top literary awards. Verdins has also written librettos and song lyrics and has published translations of American Modernist poetry (T. S. Eliot, W. C. Williams, H.D., et al). His most recent collection is Pieaugušie (Adults, 2015). His own poetry has been translated in many languages, including collections in Russian and Polish.
The poetry anthology Come to Me by Karlis Verdinš (Bilingual English / Latvian edition) is published by Arc Publications, translated & introduced by Ieva Lesinska
The Baltic countries – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – will be the Market Focus for the London Book Fair 2018 (10th – 12th April).
A big thank you to Hannah McMillan at Midas PR for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and Karlis Verdinš for allowing his poem, Come To Me to be featured here today.