Sunday evening at The Wheatsheaf in Fitzrovia (London) the Parthian Baltic series was launched. It was a special night, filled with incredible poets from the Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, including Madara Gruntmane, Eduards Aivers, Eeva Park, among others. The event, one of many celebrating 25 years of Parthian, began with a trio of craft beer from the three Baltics, each one delightfully unique both in label and taste:
After a word from the emcee, Parthian co-founder and publisher Richard Lewis Davies, there were readings from each of the authors. Mid-way through the event was a reading by poet and craft beer maker Krišjānis Zeļģis, from his collection Beasts, in his native Latvian. Jayde Will stood by his side on-stage and read the same poems in English after him, articulating the same emotion in his words that Krišjānis did in his writing. This was the trend of the evening, the author reading primarily in their native tongue, with the translator reading it back in English -- a performative manifestation of the partnership that led to these works.
The series comes, in part, with the focus on the Baltic region of this year's London Book Fair -- an opportunity that provides these poets several events to participate in and widen the reach of their work. The series, edited by Alison Evans, demonstrated the gift of translation: allowing English-language readers access to work from a part of the world they may have had little contact with before.
An example of this gift came when Jayde read alongside another Latvian poet -- Eduards Aivers. The nature of the extremely long titles of Eduards' poems in Phenomena meant that Jayde would introduce the poem twice: once for the title, once for the actual poem, the former often being four times as long as the latter. This brought surprise and delight to the listeners.
It was a brilliant night for contrast -- from Marius Burokas' metaphysical poems in Now I Understand, to the observational poetry of Eeva Park's The Rules of Bird Hunting. The result was a celebration of the collaborative process among all involved: poet, translator, publisher, country -- combining to produce the Parthian Baltic series.
Each of the Parthian Baltic titles can be purchased with free UK shipping on our website here.