Poetry Evening at the Zoo - report
On November 23rd, for the second time, the Zoo in Gdańsk Oliwa organized a thematic meeting - the Poetry Evening, with a telling subtitle: “Reader - an Endangered Species”.
The Zoo proved that November’s Black Friday can be very different from what we have grown accustomed to. At a place quietened by a veil of forest, as if it had turned its back on the noise, poetry and live nature feel well at home together.
The festive mood at the “Góralka” Cottage, a place designed for educational purposes, was ensured not only by candles and the fire on the hearth, but also by our invited guests. Thanks to its location, the idea of the meeting is very clear: poems which somehow refer to the animal theme allow one to see the Two Worlds, the Human and Animal, in a new light.
Inviting creative people strongly connected with poetry has become the tradition of our poetry evenings. This time the pillar of the Poetry Evening at the Zoo was, thanks to the inestimable cultural animator Andrzej Stelmasiewicz, Monika Milewska - a cultural expert, university lecturer and, last but not least, poet.
In her works, animals appear as motifs inextricably intertwined with autobiographical threads. The author transforms her original code into poetic stories for serious adults and glimmering images for the youngsters.
Squirrel and fox motifs are most common, but plans include another redhead - the orangutan - to become one of her heroes. The author’s recitation of her works enriched them with a particular quality, something very personal and deeply experienced. Any of our guests could show his or her declamatory talent, choosing a poem with an animal theme.
The host of the evening, the Zoo Director Michał Targowski, proved truly irreplaceable, acting both as the host and a marvellous reciter of poetry. Listening to his stories and anecdotes, we looked into the wise eyes of an elephant in search for the line dividing us and those creatures so very different from us - animals.
Our current location once again made us realize the existence of this impassable line, set so firm as a paddock fence. The evening ended with a walk around the Zoo immersed in darkness. We passed alpacas, amazed with our presence, and stoic Bactrian camels, to finally stop by frolicking pandas, predators which to us humans seem like a mixture of a kitten and a puppy. Well, such are the whims of nature. photo by Marianna Konarzewska
We are very grateful for help in the event’s organization to: Anna Franek, Aleksandra Falba, Piotr Jaskółkowski.