|Stephanos Stephanides at Bir Mula|
|islands and separation|
Cypriot poet and professor of literature, Stephanos Stephanides, will be the guest of Inizjamed at a poetry reading at the Bir Mula Heritage House in St. Margaret Street, Bormla (close to the newly renovated Home for the Elderly), on Friday, 7 May, at 10.00pm.
The other poets who will be reading their works that deal mainly with islands and separation are Norbert Bugeja, Claudia Fiorini, Maria Grech Ganado, Adrian Grima, Simone Inguanez, and Immanuel Mifsud.
Stephanos Stephanides writes in English, which became his
stepmother tongue at the age of nine or ten. He has a personal and academic
interest in dislocation, migration, Diaspora, memory and forgetting. After
finishing his University studies at Cardiff, he lived briefly in Greece and
Spain, and then spent seven years in Guyana, South America and seven in
Stephanos Stephanides is the local mentor of the Cypriot group of emerging writers who are taking part in the Klandestini multilateral creative writing project run by Inizjamed and the British Council. For more information about Stephanos Stephanides go to the Klandestini website and to the site of the site of Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at the University of Cyprus. His poem "Sentience" is also available on the Klandestini website.
Bormla and Bir Mula
Reproduced from the leaflet Bormla - Città Cospicua, published by Bir Mula Heritage Ltd.
According to Mr. John Vella, its owner and curator, the Bir Mula Heritage House in St. Margaret Street in Bormla is over a thousand years old. Its construction phases date from the Arab period to the 17th century. The cellar, which was once part of a farm, was converted to a residence in the early Arab years. Two storeys were added and converted during the 12th, 14th, and 17th centuries.
The house witnessed the invasion of the Turks in 1565, secret meetings of the Knights, including the Templars, and the revolt against the French occupation. It survived fires set by the retreating Turks and the French troops, and the fierce attacks of World War II. There are also graffiti of maritime vessels and other elements of of historical value.
Since 1997, the house has been restored and converted into a history and heritage exhibition of Bormla and its people. BMH houses exhibitions and lectures by local and foreign personalities all year round.
Bir Mula Heritage, 79, Triq Santa Margerita, Bormla. CSP 02 Tel. 2166 1000 - 2182 6427
15 poets, Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots came together to use their imagination and work on a common poem . We decided to work on a concept and we chose the concept YES which is a very popular and also unpopular word today in our country.
We had in mind that every YES is also a NO to something else and every NO has also a YES. We approached YES as a very affirmative word. A word we learn first in the others language, a word which is an opening rather than a closure, a word which can bring a change
We wanted to make an intervention with the language of poetry to the area of politics which is in our houses every night through the TV screens. Which fills us with so much anxiety and negative energy with its confronting and often fearfull attitude.
We found a big YES in our hearts for a better future and for a unifying Cyprus. We did not discuss about plans, about property, about percentages We looked at our own YESes
All the poets produced their own verses and then we made a collage.
THE COMMON POEM OF CYPRIOT POETS
YES: WHAT A JOYFUL WORD!
Yes, to a bird with open wings
To the open sky, to the open sea
Yes, to lips open to a smile
To a wish, to hope
The revenge of silenced hearts against history
While kissing the wind of love
To share the same flame
Sing the same song
Be drunk with the same passion
Make love under the same moon
Let my heart my body be light
So that I can speak
What is Greek what is Turkish
Are they two houses exchanging each other
Are they two lives filled to the brim
into sand bags
Yes, I said as though drawing a beautiful bird
I am handing it over to you
So that you can add yet another colour
A bird hidden for so long in my heart
A YES bird; so close to bursting my heart open
Take this joy
Attach it to the birds wing
As though planting new saplings
In a beautiful forest
I sit, sweating, breathless
So as to send a wave from deep inside me
Look there, at the abyss of my heart
That thing amongst the flames is Yes
Life will fall, like a star
And we will also change
Yes, a palm open to the other
To the different, to the unknown
I passed through the border amongst
The rumble of thousands of migrating butterflies
I know this day of May will be the day
We will burry
In the foundations of our common house
The whole universe
Fits into a single word!
Yes: What a joyful word!
To sing the song of heavenly love
Say Yes! To your good neighbours in exile
Open the doors ajar with your hands
Say yes! Lets come out onto the doorsteps
Clean out our wounds
Kiss by kiss
Neşe Yaşın, Filiz Naldöven, Lily Michailidou, Fikret Demirağ, Elli Peonidou, Zeki Ali, Takis Hadjigeorgiou,Tamer Öncül, Feriha Altok, Neriman Cahit, M. Kansu, Stephanos Stephanides, Gür Genç, Jenan Selçuk, Michalis Papadopoulos, Aydın Mehmet Ali