It was a treat hearing Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh's poems in Irish, with their individual backstories, and such an amazing concept, to get one poem read in three languages. It really got me thinking about the uniqueness of the experience of the original text and it s translations into English and Czech. Ní Ghearbhuigh's poetry was magical in each and every one of them. I'm really grateful for being there.
The lecture by Dr. Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh was an interesting experience, offering new points of view on the works of Biddy Jenkinson. Focusing on nature and its role in the writing, Dr. Ní Ghearbhuigh opened ways to read Jenkinson differently, with more attention placed on the world the story takes place in, and on the way this world and its happenings enhance the themes of Jenkinson's writings. While the lecture was memorable by itself, the part about smoking out the beehives and its correlation with the morality and sensibility at the centre of various of Jenkinson's characters stood out the most, with many of the attendees coming back to it even after te lecture. The language was another interesting part of the lecture, as Jenkinson's texts were presented in the original Irish, so that meanings were less at the risk of getting lost, and one could enjoy the language and even practice one's own skill (or lament the lack thereof, in some difficult cases). Overall, it was an inspiring experience, prompting one to not only read more of Jenkinson's work, but to read it with attention given to the natural world and how it is reflected in the particular story.
The lecture held by Dr. Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh showed the audience her inspiring scholarly insights, however, I was personally most impressed by the poetry reading that followed in the evening. We could experience a couple of Ní Ghearbhuigh's selected poems both in the original Irish version and in the English and Czech translations. I very much enjoyed the thrilling atmosphere of this live reading, especially since Dr. Ní Ghearbhuigh accompanied the poems with backstories about her motivations for writing them, which took their meaning to a new level.
(c) photo Ailbhe at reading by Petra Římalová