We begin the week with a look at the celebrations in honour of the poet Kamil Norwid, and the Scots Makar’s call for poets to help pen a collective poem.
The poet Kamil Norwid, who was rather underappreciated during his lifetime, has been honoured with a series of events that took place to mark the 200th anniversary of his birth.
Norwid was a significant influence on a number of other Polish writers of the 20th century as well as musical artists. He was a friend of the musician Chopin and is often referred to as the fourth national “poet-prophet” or “bard”. The other three of course being Adam Mickiewicz, Julisz Słowacki and Zygmunt Krasiński.
He was a Romantic poet, a playwright, novelist, sculptor and even an author. Many of his works were heavily influenced by the literary works of the great like Dante Alighieri who wrote Divine Comedy. Norwid died in 1883 at the age of 62. He was living in poverty and at the time his work was almost unknown and certainly not appreciated.
He spent much of his life travelling across Europe. He moved to Paris in 1849 where he met not only with Chopin but the other three “bards” as a result of the three partitions that virtually wiped Poland off the map. Norwid tried to become involved in politics and joined the Hotel Lambert, a group of Polish emigrees who were fighting for the right to an independent Poland.
His works were not truly discovered until 20 years after his death when they were found by a group of artists who formed part of the modernist art movement of Poland.
The planned celebrations include special programs which will be run on Radio Poland. There will also be a special ceremony where flowers will be laid at the crypt of the national poets. The crypt which is located in Krakow contains an urn that is filled with earth that has been taken from the mass grave where Norwid was buried.
Anyone who rang the Norwid Cultural Centre on the day would have been treated to a reading of one of his poems and the National opera also held a special concert of songs inspired by his poetry.
Whilst these events were especially run to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the poets birth, 2021 has been designated “Year of Norwid” and there have been events running all over Poland to celebrate the poet who the government had selected as an honorary patron for the year. The final event that is planned is the Norwid Festival which should have taken place from 26th to 28th November in the capital.
The new Makar of Scotland, Kathleen Jamie has only been in the role a few weeks, but she is seeking help from the public to assist in the writing of a poem about nature for the COP26.
The countryside of Scotland has long influenced poets from Robert Burns to Hugh MacDiarmid and she is hoping that the public will help her to collate a poem about the nature of Scotland in time for the summit which will take place in November. She wants the poem to be a collective effort because issues relating to climate affect everyone.