International Dinner and Poetry Night: Soul Food

International Dinner and Poetry Night

4:45 PM “Yes! There is no one in the kitchen. Let’s get started!”

5:00 PM “Um, guys, where can I put this plate? Is there any room left?”

5:15 PM “We need more dough”

5:45 PM “We have more dough!”

6:00 PM “Could you pass me the fork?
Where’s the big knife?
Cut the garlic into smaller
pieces if you can.
Can I borrow some butter?
That looks yummy!
I need a large spoon.
It’s getting late…”

6:30 PM “We’re almost done…Almost”

7:00 PM “That soup is fantastic!
Great pizza, roomie.
The cranberry jam goes with the blood sausages,
not with the garlic bread.
Have you tasted the chocolate chip cookies?
Pancake time!
I feel so full…”

The international dinner in a nutshell: cooking frenzy, heaps of fun, great teamwork, unbelievable mess, pleasant conversations, excellent food.

Question: What is the best thing one can do after such a great meal?

Answer: Read some poetry, obviously!

Said and done. Students and professors gathered in a circle lit by small torches which created a very intimate and friendly atmosphere. Poems about love, death, dogs, stars, pipes, prison, or storms were recited in a variety of languages (German, Turkish, Hungarian, Romanian, Albanian, French, Macedonian, Spanish or Gaelic) and accompanied by their English translations when it was necessary. The cold was quickly forgotten as people found themselves either laughing hysterically, shedding a hidden tear, gazing in awe, nodding approvingly, or drifting away in remembrance.

There is something special about a poem in its original language: it manages to evoke feelings and emotions that a translation, no matter how rich and carefully done, fails to capture. When listening to such poetry, the meaning becomes secondary to the reader’s ability to infuse life into the words and the audience’s willingness to go past lingual barriers by creating a mental image and a deeply personal interpretation of what is being said.

22:00 PM: “So, who wants to read another one?
She’s really talented, isn’t she?
I wish I could do this, but I’m too nervous…
Um, I could also sing this one!
I think I found one more…
~heartfelt applause~

Question: What do you get when you mix food with poetry?

Answer: Soul food.

By Catalina Iorga (ISU ’07, Romania)

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