Monday, April 16, 2012

Poetry Workshop in Xania

A poetry workshop in Crete is a very rare opportunity. I was so pleased to be able to take part in the one given by Ruth Padel, a very esteemed English poet, writer and BBC broadcaster. The trip to Xania was well worth a three hour bus ride.Gillian, my friend and music teacher, came along with me for a little break. The workshop lasted for four days, so Gillian went off exploring Xania during the day, and we met up for dinner each evening.
Ruth Padel was such an inspiration. Her knowledge of poetry and how best to construct it was very educational, and every day of the workshop was intensive and thought provoking. We were seven students all together, all from and around Xania except me. And most were connected in some way to the Synagogue, where we met every day for four and a half hours, the Synagogue library being very conducive to writing poetry.
As a finale there was a reading of our work in the synagogue itself, in front of the Rabi and a small crowd of friends and relatives. Gillian came, and made the lovely video of my reading, click here. 
One of my poems in particular, The Doors, we had discussed in class. At first, though it was humorous, the Jewish words 'Oy Vay' (and I apologise if that is spelt wrong) were criticized as being too 'lowly' for the Synagogue. But the next day, those nearest to the Rabi advised me to leave the words in, saying that they thought Rabi Niko would surely think it funny, and as the whole poem was about someone who knew nothing about Judaism, than it was okay. Sure enough, I made the Rabi laugh!
After the reading, the whole group got together at a long table for wine and meze, and a good old relaxed chat. New friends were made, and it was a wonderful evening. I was introduced to unleven bread, and Gillian was introduced to the Rabi. We were asked back to play baroque music in the Synagogue, an event which I look forward to very much.

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