Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Being Ilya

Having a great time at the Centrum Conference. The weather is fantastic. The participants are engaged. Yesterday morning, Ilya Kaminsky opened with a fascinating craft lecture exploring conflict, the personal, and the political. Last night, after a terrific evening performance, with Bhanu Kapil reading from her book of poems and notebook about the feral children discovered (and studied) by a missionary in India in the 1920's; and Lesley Hazelton reading in a rich throaty voice from her biography of Mary (as in "the Virgin"); a group of us went out to town for drinks: Lesley, Bhanu, Ilya Kaminsky, Rebecca Brown, and myself. The Rocky Horror Picture Show was being projected onto a white sheet dividing two of the rooms of the bar; and it was just a hoot trying to explain the significance of this odd cultural phenomenon to Ilya. Walking back to the car later, as a 4/5 full moon glittered on the water, Ilya incited us all to join arms and do a little Russian dance, which nearly made us fall into the street, and led Lesley to proclaim: "we are now officially drunk." We laughed and laughed driving back to Centrum, each of us reciting whatever words of Russian we could think of — das vadanya, nyet, bortsch, wodka — to Ilya's great delight.


Anne said...

ha! I'm actually in the middle of reading Ilya Kaminsky's book right now. Good, good stuff. Sounds like you're having a great time!

Suzanne said...

This post made me smile, Peter. I'm glad you're having such a great time.


Patty said...

When I read "Dancing in Odessa" I couldn't believe it was written by a 23 year old. You can tell us, he's really 40, isn't he? ;)