Friday, July 30, 2010

Ongoing Lessons

Maria reading her poem, working on words with Stacey, Alina reading her poem, Ira's birthday song.

The exercise in writing the Ukrainian national anthem in the present tense is ongoing. The English Club worked on it some more this week, but it's still not quite there. And translating it into Ukrainian is the hardest part.

Interestingly enough, Maria announced that the Rada (Ukrainian parliament) actually has a competition on right now soliciting ideas for re-writing the national anthem again! Really? Yes! Incredible! What serendipity!

So now our exercise has moved from the theoretical to the real, and taken on more meaning, even a sense of urgency, because the deadline is 21 August. Club members are to come back with their rewrites next week, and maybe add a few more verses because the government calls for a 3 stanza anthem! It has to be in Ukrainian, too. We talked and thought together some more.

Sequeing into our next theme, Stacey led a session on poetry to and about Ukraine. Alina, Maria and Anton shared their poems. Great poems, tributes to a mighty nation, and some fresh ideas for the anthem revision, too. Alina, for example, wrote about “My Motherland…so dear to me…every river, every tree."

Stacey read her poem and I read mine. They are difficult if not impossible to translate into Russian, with lots of new words, metaphors and images. Stacey helped members focus on the words and their meaning. Other members are working on poems so we may get more next week. I’d like to make a poster exhibit of all the poems, and put it up in the Library.

Then we moved from creative mode to listening mode. Stacey read some Robert Frost poetry, poems of innocence and poems of experience. An interesting dichotomy, innocence and experience. It evoked more images and more interest in words. Word pictures. Painting with words. Splashes of ideas and pastel phrases floated in our minds. We twirled them around, played with them a bit. It was a lovely way to end our meeting.

Oh yes, one more thing: we also got to wish Ira a Happy Birthday and sang the song, which Stacey had nicely written out and decorated, with gusto and heartfelt good wishes. The English Club is like a family, and especially so when celebrating it's wonderful members.

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