I just came home from a really inspiring event. The Finnish literature festival Runokuu (‘poetry month’) organised an evening at the Helsinki Student Theatre, a combination of science, poetry and theatre.
First Syksy Räsänen, a physicist, gave us a brief talk on relativity theory and quantum theory, and the different conceptions of time arising from those theories. Then we retired into an inflatable mini-planetarium brought into the theatre by Ursa, a Finnish astronomy society. My goodness that was awesome – a dark space, like entering a womb we called it, and inside, the starry sky reflected on the curving walls. A Finnish poet Helena Sinervo read some of her poems. Then a representative of Ursa showed us the Big Dipper, Cygnus, Cassiopeia and other constellations, and told us other cool space stuff. We also learned the etymology of the word galaxy – always cool to get the smack-in-the-face reaction of learning a new etymology.
I felt so dizzy, lying down on the floor with my eyes on the circling stars and my mind boggling over the concept of such vast distances and us here on our little planet in the midst of all that emptiness. I felt suspended out of time – we could have been there for hours, for all I knew.
After stargazing within the planetarium, we had time for writing. I wrote some babbly nonsense to get my head into writingspace, but then managed to produce two poem drafts in Finnish, one of them accidentally becoming quite polished.
And then the coolest: actors from the student theatre improv-read our freshly written pieces. Oh, the (good kind of) chills I felt when an actor read my poem! She read it precisely like I’d imagined it could be but it was something even more. I went to thank her afterwards for making my poem so powerful.
Conclusion: I’m feeling more confident with writing poetry in Finnish. What a wonderful feeling after so long of poems in my other heart-language being stunted and clumsy!