Over the course of its three-week run, the European Poetry Festival introduces modern poetry from a variety of European countries to London audiences. The Finnish Poetry Celebration event is organised at Candid Arts on Thursday 23.6. The event begins at 7.30 pm and admission is free.
One of the Finnish poets taking part in the event is Sini Silveri. She answered some questions about her sources of inspiration, expectations, and the concept for the event.
Many of your poems deal with everyday things and objects. What inspires you and where do you get ideas for your poetry?
Sini Silveri: “Everyday objects and especially great pieces of trash I find on the ground are, to me, a type of condensation of the world in the middle of all the chaos. Objects are tiny forms, surfaces you can latch onto and build on.
In my mind humans are documents that represent their environment. Us humans collect and preserve influences from the society around us like sponges. I am interested in recognising and studying these documents and their outbursts, their waste matter. I’m inspired by struggles, movement, grime, the lack of something, reading, and joy. Ideas on the other hand, they can be immense philosophical questions.”
At the European Poetry Festival you will be performing together with another artist. How has this affected your preparations for the event?
Sini: “It is actually very interesting to come to another country and to a festival like this. I have gotten to know my fellow poet, Prudence Bussey-Chamberlain, via emails. We have been talking to each other about our ways of writing, where we are at, and how we are feeling. It all feels somehow easy and deep. The feeling of strangeness that can be associated with coming to a different country has somehow disappeared. Writing together is in essence a way of verbally existing both opposite and overlapping with each other.”
How were the collaboration pairs formed? Have you worked together already during the process or will you only begin during the event?
Sini: “Steven J Fowler, the festival’s organiser, has had good intuition for forming the pairs. I think one reason why Prudence and I were paired together is our shared interest in New narrative and in queer literature. We both have a sort of a gentle yet determined way of working. We have been working together remotely for many months now, but we also hope to meet up face-to-face before the event.”
What are you hoping for from the European Poetry Festival?
Sini: “I look forward to meeting other poets, to London, to excitement. I cannot conceive of my writerhood as something that only stays within the walls of my own home, so it is really good to be able to get out and travel. I am excited by performing different performances. By multilingualism.”
Some of your poetry has been translated into English and Spanish. Whose initiative was it to begin translating your work? Are there more translations in the works?
Sini: My work Titaanidisko (2020, Poesia) has just been translated into Spanish. Disco de titantes [Titanium Disco] will be published in July by the Mexican publisher Pitzilein. This translation was originally the initiative of José Luis Rico Carrillo, a Mexican translator and poet living in Finland. He has this desire for languages, and a need to bring everyday, affective Finnish modern poetry to new audiences. There is also an English translation in the works. Some of my poems have been translated into English, for example for the Sorbus book Wasted years and my poetry booklet Private interest of each other looking themselves in a trashy rosy life. Recently some of my poems were also translated into Turkish, for an anthology of the Nazim Hikmet poetry festival. I think books should be translated into as many different languages as possible.
Finnish Poetry Celebration at the European Poetry Festival, 23 June at 7.30. Candid Arts, 3 Torrens Street, London EC1V 1NQ. See event information here and venue information here. Full festival programme with all events and information about the festival itself is available here.
Image: Sini Silveri