With our Versopolis celebration of emerging European poets happening tomorrow, we chatted with Adam Horovitz:
1) If you could write poetry in another language, what would it be and why?
German. Despite the fact that I failed dismally to learn how to speak it in school. It’s the foreign language that informed my youth most, being the native tongue of all my father’s family except my father, who was only 2 when they arrived in Britain. I love its portmanteau approach and that its sounds are often harder than the ones I tend to use on my lyrical English palette.
2) If you could borrow one word from another language to use in your poetry what would it be?
The beauty of English language is that it has liberally practiced just that for centuries. If pressed, ‘Chaim’, the Hebrew word for life. It sounds much more alive as a word than ‘life’ does. It chimes with its meaning.
3) Do you think poetry offers a medium to protest?(Poetry as Protest is a theme running through the Festival in partnership with English PEN)
Of course it does! A valuable one at that. I define my understanding of how much of Britain felt about the Vietnam War not through historical texts, but through Adrian Mitchell’s brilliant To Whom it May Concern for example, and he is an fine example of a poet whose protests were also powerful art. Poetry can make for subtle, persuasive protest. As much as I love some declamatory rhetorical protest poetry, it’s the quiet mind-changers, the elusive protests that move me most to thought and action – just look at the verse that Stalin and his ilk have tried to suppress; allegorical, coded and revolutionary works that still stand up as poems long after the regime has changed. Poetry’s protestation comes in many forms and will do for as long as there is a need to protest.
4) What is the value of the Versopolis project for you?
A hard and fast connection to the poetic landscapes beyond borders. Poetry should act locally and think globally and Versopolis is a great way to begin to think globally, given that it offers direct access to new strains of poetic thought emerging from a younger generation. I am learning a great deal just from reading the translations on the website.
Versopolis: A celebration of Emerging European Poets is happening on Sunday 5 July at 6pm – 8.20pm in the Burgage Hall