Poets from Europe – Poems about Lake Balaton

Balatonfüred Translation House has hosted six poets of European importance in the Poems in Veszprém project. The meeting of the poets resulted in many beautiful poems and unconventional "literature lessons" for hundreds of students. Throughout the summer, you can listen to the works produced in the form of street theatre performances.

Literature has a prominent place in the Veszprém-Balaton 2023 European Capital of Culture programme, and the Poems in Veszprém project, among many others, has enriched the collection of high-quality works of literature about our city and region. Six poets of European importance have been hosted in a series of poet-in-residence events with the aim of creating works inspired by the region's unique natural and cultural treasures.

Yvonne Reddick (United Kingdom), Ija Kiva (Ukraine), Gérard Cartier (France), Antonio Rivero Taravillo (Spain), Jaan Malin (Estonia) and Guy Helminger (Luxembourg) found excellent common ground and a valuable and active exchange of ideas took place between the lyricists at Balatonfüred Translation House. In English, French, Spanish, German, and sometimes even Russian and Italian, excellent works emerged from the experiences gathered during the time spent here.

The poets invited to the festival and who were writing here also took part in two public programmes, providing enjoyable literary encounters to nearly four hundred secondary school and university students.

At the University of Pannonia, discussions were held on poetry and literature, at the House of Jewish Excellence in Balatonfüred, on the idea of being European, and in the region's secondary schools, unconventional language and literature lessons were held. The poets visited Lóczy Lajos Grammar School in Balatonfüred, the Dual-Language Grammar School in Balatonalmád and Lovassy Grammar School in Veszprém, where the introductory lessons were so successful that the French and German-speaking poets were invited back to Lóczy for another session. In fact, when Vetési Albert Grammar School in Veszprém heard about the project, the Spanish language section of the school asked Antonio to give a lesson there too.

Throughout May, we will be adding more poems inspired by poets' experiences in the region. Works previously translated by the translators of Balatonfüred Translation House are available online: https://furedifordito.wixsite.com/veve/versek

The complete collection of poems will be performed by student actors on 29th and 30th July 2023 in an innovative street theatre performance in Balatonfüred, Veszprém and Balatonalmádi.

The programme, unprecedented in the country, was considered a definite success by the participating poets, the organisers and the audience (students and teachers) alike, and the Balatonfüred Translation House plans to repeat the event next year.

Until then, a few thoughts from our guest poets: 

"The unparalleled beauty of Balatonfüred and its surroundings gave me enough inspiration for a whole bunch of poems. I also met students from three schools, which gave me a much better understanding of Hungary. At the Translation House in Füred, I have been able to spend my days in a creative and friendly atmosphere." (Antonio Rivero Taravillo)

"Such a programme is a true form of learning about culture. I have learnt a lot from the students I have met and I hope I have given something back to them... These few days here have been a really good mix of work and a high-quality way to recharge my batteries". (Guy Helminger)

"When I was writing my poems, I was inspired by the Translation House (oh, those wonderful books in all those languages!) and the gorgeous scenery of Lake Balaton. The landscapes, encounters and literary discoveries often have a delayed effect: weeks later a poem or a novel is conceived that I had no idea about before... The lessons for students of Italian and French were a formative experience for me. The atmosphere of the days I spent here, the human encounters, the monuments of Veszprém, Lake Balaton and its surroundings, the delicacies of the local cuisine - it's poetry in itself..."  (Gérard Cartier)


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