IC Book Festival, Heaney Memorial Reading

If you weren’t present for Teemu Manninen’s reading at Prairie Lights last Sunday, boy, did you miss out! The author of five poetry collections in his native Finnish, Teemu commands such scintillating English (read: near-native, despite the claim of his website to mere excellence) that last weekend he read his own translations of his own work, as well as an English original dating from the first month of his current residency with the 2013 International Writing Program. His subjects ranged from a dedication to the Venus de Milo, a response to W. H. Auden’s canonical poem, “Musée des Beaux-Arts,” a description of a baptism remembered from childhood, and finally, by IWP popular request, a piece called “Dirty Little Things,” which he courageously advertised as a love poem. But tough luck for us non-Finnish speakers: his English translations are nowhere available in print—yet!

Better luck ahead for those who missed his Prairie Lights debut, or those already ready for more: Teemu will join fellow IWP poets Dmitry Golynko and Martin Dyar for the Seamus Heaney Memorial Reading on Tuesday, October 8 at 8pm in 100 Phillips Hall. True, they’ll be reading selections from Heaney’s work rather than their own, but even so you’ll have another opportunity to witness their poetic declamations on stage.

Can’t get enough of IWP 2013? Catch all the residents at the Iowa City Book Festival next Thursday, October 10 through Sunday the 13th as they discuss their work in and around downtown IC. Featured panels will include Fiction or Fact, I Wish I Had Written That, A Sense of Place, First Novel Experiences, Freedom’s Limits, Genre Studies, Politics and Prose, the New Sexualities, the Vonnegut Effect, Religion and Writing, and most pertinently us here at Exchanges, the translation-specific panel, At Language’s Edge—featuring both recent blog headliners Dmitry Golynko and Teemu Manninen!

Image: Courtesy of Iowa City Book Festival