Not so much a review as a travelogue, the quite astounding and idiosyncratic and powerful Russian poet, my friend, and one of those on the tour itself, Maria Malinovskaya, wrote a small piece on a recent project I curated. The Nordic Poetry Festival : Norway http://www.cirkolimp-tv.ru/articles/882/kamarade-v-norvegii
It’s so worth a read, if you read Russian, I bet. But also in English, via the translation software, for it makes its own poetry, does this bot. This is not what she wrote in Russian of course, but some tasty google translate morsels, about me, if I may be so indulgent to indulge:
“There, in his scarlet trousers, red shoes and a green jacket with two badges made in the USSR, Stephen Fowler met us, who arrived, of course, before everyone else. When I think about this person and especially when I see him, the clean and cold energy with which he does what he loves is surprising. He will never say compliments on duty, he will not smile simply because he needs to smile now, but at the same time he will find really important words for you as a participant in his festival. He doesn’t drink alcohol, in every new city he comes to, he tries first of all to run a cross - to feel people and a place, and if you forgot somewhere a package,………….
……. However, Stephen did not allow to celebrate the release of the book for a long time - ahead, despite the late time, there was perhaps the most exciting part of the festival, at least for me, was a boat trip from Aalesund to Bergen. “Don’t miss the boat for pictures”! - is heard on the documentary video made by Stephen, his voice when he, like chickens, drives us inside, and we resist and try to photograph the seven-decked ship outside. And even though it was already half past three in the night in small warm cabins, we all gathered in the hall, and the most daring, that is, Young and I, got out onto the open deck and swept along it, looking into the windows of the cabins. So, unexpectedly, behind one glass, we met none other than Stephen, who looked peacefully into the distance, talking on the phone,
The first half of the next day was to be held in rehearsals of the main event of the festival, but was held in solitary and joint contemplation of the fjords, lighthouses and rainbows from the ship. And, of course, in continuous photography. We had no idea that Stephen was filming a small documentary on his phone ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ms8K87HEEMw ). But, perhaps, he did not suspect about this until the end of the festival. Sailing to Bergen, on the deck we talked about the success of the festival: Steven was pleased and worried. When there is a confrontation, it is clear where to move on, and when everything turns out, it is more difficult to force yourself to change something.
In Bergen, we had only an hour left before the performances. Someone especially stress-resistant managed to oversleep all this hour, someone rehearsed, someone procrastinated. I was rather the latter. Going to the window, I saw at the intersection of Stephen, who was running on the spot in anticipation of a green traffic light. It was raining, and people under umbrellas in coats and jackets looked curiously at the sweaty young man in a T-shirt, clearly breaking their slower daily rhythm. At this moment, despite the excitement, I realized that everything is fine and right, and will be so until the end……….
………..Needless to say, two documentary poets were again on the same flight, now Bergen - Amsterdam, only one after the transfer went to Dublin, and the other to Moscow. Three wonderful books flew with me - Christodulus Makris, Stephen Fowler and David Spittle. And also - one of Stephen’s two Soviet badges, removed from his jacket and pinned to mine. I think this is what will now accompany me on different poetic readings and remind me that they can be like that.”