Blog

I Was Born with Two Tongues: Poetry as a Tool for Livonian Cultural Revival

May 29, 2018

I will be presenting a roundtable panel of Latvian poets writing in the endangered language Livonian, Valt Ernštreit, Baiba Damberg, Ķempi Kārl, at the 2018 AABS Conference at Stanford University.

The Livonians are the southernmost Finnic nation and are indigenous to Latvia. In the beginning of the Middle Ages, Livonian was spoken across vast territories of present-day Latvia around the Gulf of Rīga and including the area of Latvia’s capital – Rīga. The Livonians have contributed greatly to the historical development of the Central Baltic region and the shaping of modern Latvian language and culture. 

Presently, Livonian is critically endangered and is now spoken by just some twenty people. However, several authors actively writing in Livonian can be found among them. The tradition of writing literature in Livonian has existed for almost 200 years with the first poems in Livonian being written in the mid-19th century. The Livonian poets – Valt Ernštreit, Baiba Damberg, Ķempi Kārl – are continuing this tradition today. 

In spring 2018, the bilingual anthology Trillium will be published in English and Livonian featuring the work of these three poets and celebrating the centennial of Latvia’s independence as well as its guest nation status at the London Book Fair. Trillium was edited by Livonian linguist and poet Valts Ernštreits, translated by poet Ryan Van Winkle and linguist Uldis Balodis, with its design created by well-known Latvian book artist Zane Ernštreite.

The round table will introduce its participants to Livonian history from ancient to modern times as well as present Trillium along with readings of poems in both Livonian and English by its authors and translators. This will also be an opportunity to discuss new perspectives for Livonian language and literature.

Short Bio

Valts Ernštreits
Livonian linguist and culture worker. Ernštreits defended his PhD on the Livonian literary language and is currently involved in the writing of the first ever Livonian reference grammar at the University of Tartu. He is the head of Līvõ kultūr sidām (Livonian Culture Centre, 1994) dedicated to the safeguarding, study, and development of Livonian language and culture. He is also chief editor of the Livonian history, language, and culture portal Livones.net. A poet writing in Livonian and Latvian, translator, and visual artist, Ernštreits has received Norwegian, Estonian, Finnish, and Latvian state decorations. 

Karl Pajusalu 
Professor of Estonian dialectology and the history of the Estonian language at the University of Tartu, member of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, and foreign member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences. He has studied the historical formation of the Southern Finnic languages, incl. Salaca Livonian, and Estonian and Livonian dialect contacts. He created an orthography for Salaca Livonian, which he has used in his Salaca Livonian poetry volumes.

Uldis Balodis
Latvian linguist and translator. Balodis works with the Finnic languages of Latvia and the Native languages of North America. He has had a personal and professional interest in Livonian for over 20 years. Since 2013, he has studied the historically South Estonian-speaking Lutsi people of Latgale (eastern Latvia). He is currently writing a Lutsi language primer and a volume supported by the AABS Baumanis Grant on the historical Lutsi villages and their inhabitants. Balodis published his dissertation, a reference grammar of the Northern California Yuki language, in 2016.

Gunta Kļava
Latvian linguist, Latvian Language Agency, University of Latvia. Her research interests include sociolinguistics, language policy, and language contacts. She is an author and editor of research into language policy in Latvia. Her responsibilities at the Latvian Language Agency also include support for Livonian language development projects and activities.

Ryan reads with a woman in Reno, her name is Julian Guy

May 28, 2018

I will be reading at Sundance Books and Music in Reno, Nevada, with local poet Julian guy, at 6.30pm, Tuesday 30 May. Hope to see you there!

We are proud to host local poet Julian Guy and visiting poet Ryan Van Winkle for a reading at 6:30.

Julian Guy is a senior at the University of Nevada, Reno where she studies fiction and poetry. She is the winner of the 2018 spring DQ Writing award. She has been a Literary Director for the Brushfire Literary & Arts Journal, and has been awarded the James H. MacMillan and J. Lee Taylor Creative Writing scholarships for her excellence in poetry. Born and raised in Reno, Nevada, Julian calls the desert her home.

Ryan Van Winkle is a poet, editor and live artist living in Edinburgh. His second collection, The Good Dark, won the Saltire Society’s 2015 Poetry Book of the Year award. His poems have appeared in New Writing Scotland, The Prairie Schooner and The American Poetry Review. As a member of Highlight Arts he has organized festivals and translation workshops in Syria, Pakistan and Iraq. He was awarded a Robert Louis Stevenson fellowship in 2012 and the Jessie Kesson fellowship at Moniack Mhor in 2018. For more information, visit www.ryanvanwinkle.com

Event date:
Wednesday, May 30, 2018 – 6:30pm
Event address:
121 California Avenue
RenoNV 89509

Ryan has two events with Latvian poets in Scotland

May 24, 2018

When Latvia Met Scotland

On Wednesday 23 May, 7pm, I will be reading at the Scottish Poetry Library with Latvian poets Katrīna RudzīteHenriks ZēgnersInga Pizāne, and Eduards Eipurs, Scottish poets Katherine Sowerby and William Letford, and Welsh poet Llyr Gwyn Lewis. This event is produced in partnership with Latvian Literature platform, which is promoting recognition of Latvian literature and its distribution abroad, ensuring international cooperation among publishers, literary agents, writers and translators. Both Latvian Literature platform and SPL are members of Literature Across Frontiers (LAF).

International Simmer: Latvia meets Scotland

On Thursday 24 May, 7.30pm, I will be joined at the Edinburgh Food Studio by Latvian poets Katrīna RudzīteHenriks ZēgnersInga Pizāne, and Eduards Eipurs, Scottish poets Katherine Sowerby and William Letford, Welsh poet Llyr Gwyn Lewis, and Latvian chef Raivo Behmanis.

Our unique collaboration series between food & poetry uses flavour, scent, and colour in response to poems. In this edition we bring an international flavour and welcome a Latvian chef to our kitchen and four distinct Latvian voices and their Scottish / Welsh translators. 

This event has been generously supported by Latvian Literature which works internationally to support Latvian literature abroad.

 

Screenings of The Good Dark in Edinburgh (April 19) and Stirling (April 26)

April 17, 2018

There will be screenings of The Good Dark, made by Lucas Chih-Peng Kao, in Edinburgh and Stirling over the next fortnight. First in Edinburgh at the Cameo Cinema, 7pm, Thursday 19 April, and in the Mediterranea Restaurant, Stirling, 7pm, Thursday 26 April. The screenings are part of the unDependence Film Festival, and you can read their whole programme here.

A poet wanders through a desolate house and sees the reanimated lives of Jim and Flo, the previous tenants. As the poet recites his poem, bringing the worlds of the past, present and imagination closer, the couple struggle to grasp the last breath of their relationship.

Ryan reads at the SWG3 Poetry Club

April 11, 2018

I’ll be reading alongside Richard Scott, Tessa Berring, Sarah Bernstein and Andy Spragg at the SWG3 Poetry Club, 100 Eastvale Place, Glasgow, on Sunday 6 May, 6.30-9.30pm.

Hope to see you there.

As part of Glasgow International.

Richard Scott was born in London in 1981. His poems have appeared widely in magazines and anthologies including Poetry Review, Poetry London, PN Review, Swimmers, The Poetry of Sex (Penguin) and Butt Magazine. He has been a winner of the Wasafiri New Writing Prize, a Jerwood/Arvon Poetry Mentee and a member of the Aldeburgh 8. His pamphlet Wound (Rialto) won the Michael Marks Poetry Award 2016 and his poem ‘crocodile’ won the 2017 Poetry London Competition. Soho (Faber & Faber) is his first book.

Tessa Berring is a writer and artist based in Edinburgh. Her poetry can be found or is forthcoming in a variety of journals/anthologies including The Rialto, Adjacent Pineapple, House of Three Press, Pitymilk Press, 3:AM Magazine (with Kathrine Sowerby), and Datableedzine. In 2017 she wrote for two visual art projects, ‘Narrative’, and ‘Carnevale’ in connection withEdinburgh College of Art. Her pamphlet ‘Cut Glass and No Flowers’ is available from Dancing Girl Press.

Sarah Bernstein is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, Edinburgh, where she is working on a project called ‘Difficult Women & the Common Good’. Her writing has appeared in places like Adjacent PineappletenderContemporary Women’s Writing and Lemon Hound, and her first book, Now Comes the Lightning, was published in Canada by Pedlar Press in 2015. Her work in progress is called The Coming Bad Days.

Andrew Spragg was born in London and lives there. He has written critical pieces for BonafideHix ErosThe Quietus, Poetry London and PN Review. Recent poetry books include Tether//Replica(Sprialbound/Susak Press, 2015), OBJECTS (Red Ceiling Press, 2014), A Treatise on Disaster (Contraband Books, 2013) and To Blart & Kid (Like This Press, 2013). A new book Now Too How Soon came out with Contraband Books autumn 2017 and he is currently working on a collaborative book, To All Those Fucking Scoundrels, with the artist Beth Hopkins. sectorhabits.tumblr.com

RYAN VAN WINKLE is a poet, editor and live artist living in Edinburgh. His second collection, The Good Dark, won the Saltire Society’s 2015 Poetry Book of the Year award.His poems have appeared in New Writing Scotland, The Prairie Schooner and The American Poetry Review.As a member of Highlight Arts he has organized festivals and translation workshops in Syria, Pakistan and Iraq. He was awarded a Robert Louis Stevenson fellowship in 2012 and the Jessie Kesson fellowship at Moniack Mhor in 2018. www.ryanvanwinkle.com

Ryan will be on The Jessie Kesson Fellowship at Moniack Mhor

March 3, 2018

I’m very grateful to have been selected for this year’s Jessie Kesson Fellowship. I’ll be in the cottage at Moniack Mhor for a month, hosting a weekly drop-in workshop on Wednesday 7, 14 and 21 March, 6-8pm.

The workshops will be fun, lively & accessible, for anyone interested in reading or writing poetry. We’ll read a handful of poems and discuss them, with a focus on feeling comfortable talking about poetry.

Ryan reads at Hear Hare Here #5

November 12, 2017

I’ll be reading this Thursday 16 November, 6.30pm at Golden Hare Books‘ poetry series Hear Hare Here, alongside Jonathan Bay and Rachel Rankin, hosted by Golden Hare’s own poet and bookseller Alice Tarbuck. Tickets are £5, hope to see you there.

Ryan Van Winkle is a poet, editor and live artist living in Edinburgh. His second collection, The Good Dark, won the Saltire Society’s 2015 Poetry Book of the Year award. His poems have appeared in New Writing Scotland, The Prairie Schooner and The American Poetry Review. As a member of Highlight Arts he has organised festivals and translation workshops in Syria, Pakistan and Iraq. He was awarded a Robert Louis Stevenson fellowship in 2012 and a residency at The Studios of Key West in 2016. www.ryanvanwinkle.com

Jonathan Bay, a Creative Writing PhD student at the University of Edinburgh. He has been published in The Inkwell, Hearts and Minds, Gutter and most recently won the Jupiter Artland Inspired to Write competition. He enjoys travelling.

Rachel Rankin is a poet from Coatbridge who currently lives in Edinburgh, where she is a student on the MSc Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh. She has had both poetry and book reviews published in a variety of journals , including Gutter, Antiphon, The Riveter and on the Scottish Review of Books’ website following her participation in their inaugural Emerging Critics Mentoring Programme. Rachel was shortlisted for the annual Jane Martin Poetry Prize organised by Girton College at the University of Cambridge in 2017 and is a recipient of a Dewar Arts Award, which is being used to fund her postgraduate studies. As well as this, Rachel has performed her work and competed in competitions both nationally and internationally. You can find her on Twitter at @rakelrank.

Ryan hosts Five Simmer: A Night of Poetry and Flavour

November 11, 2017

This Friday 17 Novemeber, Claire Askew, Jo Clifford, Christine De Luca and Harry Giles will give readings matched with four dishes in collaboration with Edinburgh Food Studio, for the newest installment of the Simmer reading and dining series.

The dinner costs £45 per person, with an optional drinks pairing of £35 with drinks chosen to match the menu, and, of course, the poems. Dinner is served at 8pm and guests are welcomed to join us from 7:30pm onwards. You can book your tickets here.

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This unique collaboration series between food & poetry will use flavour, scent, and colour in response to some of Scotland’s most distinct voices. A delicious evening which will touch all of your senses.

Hosted by Salitre award winning poet  Ryan Van Winkle, ‘Simmer’ pairs four poets with dishes carefully selected & prepared to illuminate and echo their work. Readings will be from Claire Askew, Christine DeLuca, Jo Clifford, and Harry Giles.

Photo by  Sally Jubb Photography

Photo by  Sally Jubb Photography

Claire Askew’s debut poetry collection, This changes things, was published by Bloodaxe in 2016 and was shortlisted for an Edwin Morgan Poetry Award, the 2016 Saltire First Book Award, the 2017 Seamus Heaney Centre Poetry Prize, and the 2017 Michael Murphy Memorial Award.  Claire is also a novelist, and her debut novel — winner of the 2016 Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize — is forthcoming from Hodder & Stoughton in August 2018.  Claire is the current Writer in Residence at the University of Edinburgh.

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Edinburgh-based Christine De Luca writes in English and Shetlandic, her mother tongue.  She was Edinburgh’s Makar for 2014-2017.  Besides children’s stories and a novel, she has had seven poetry collections and four bi-lingual volumes published (French, Italian, Icelandic and Norwegian) and participated in festivals e.g. in Canada, India, France, Norway and Iceland.  

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Jo Clifford is a playwright, poet, performer and teacher who is also a proud father and grandmother. She is the author of about 90 plays, many of which have been performed all over the world. 

Work this year includes “The House of Bernarda Alba” (Graeae and Royal Exchange, Manchester), “War in America” (Attic Collective). She has also been performing her “Gospel According to Jesus Queen Of Heaven” and the play continues to tour Brazil in a Portuguese translation. She has just returned from Uruguay and Argentina where the play is touring in Spanish. In the summer she performed “EVE”, which she co-wrote with Chris Goode, during the Edinburgh Fringe at the Traverse Theatre and the at the Citizens in Glasgow in a National Theatre of Scotland production. She is currently writing a new play for Manchester’s Royal Exchange.

Photo by Rich DysonPhoto by Rich Dyson

Harry Giles is from Orkney and lives in Edinburgh. Their latest publication is the collection Tonguit from Freight Books, shortlisted for the 2016 Forward Prize for Best First Collection. They were the 2009 BBC Scotland slam champion, co-direct the live art platform ANATOMY, and have toured participatory theatre across Europe and Leith. www.harrygiles.org

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If the previous iteration of Simmer is anything to go by, it will be a surefire success, and a joy for all. The dinner costs £45 per person, with an optional drinks pairing of £35 with drinks chosen to match the menu, and of course, the poems. Dinner is served at 8pm and guests are welcomed to join us from 7:30 onwards.

Ryan on Latvian TV

September 15, 2017

Sometimes one finds a version of oneself on Latvian National Television discussing poetry workshops in Riga with a new name and a surprisingly rich Latvian voice.

With Latvia’s International Writers and Translators House & Literature Across Frontiers we’ll be reading the results of our workshops at The Nice Place TELPA on Saturday 16 September at 18.00.

 

 

Ryan reads at Poetic Fall in Druskininkai, Lithuania

September 10, 2017

From Wednesday 4 – Monday 9 October, I’ll be in Druskininkai, Lithuania, for the Poetic Fall festival. I’ll be reading and some poems will be translated and published for an anthology commemorating the 2017 festival.

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