Raman Mundair: Kulturhuset, Sergels Torg

Kulturhuset, Sergals Torg

(Stockholm, Sweden)


We move carefully,

negotiating between the black

and the white, squaring

off the opposition,

lining up the captive men,

parading the deliberation

that can destroy an army,

bring a clergy to its knees,

and disappear a monarchy.

Today, I have a whole

empire in my hand;

my fingertips command

power. This is not

just a game, this is

my life that wiles

away the hours. This war

is art, this death, a displacement.

a sacrifice, that creates

the means to win.


There is democracy here:

young,  middle aged, balding, longhaired,

clean faced, suited and the shabby

gather together as men,

form silent, respectful circles

around the players,

like Gods, lost deep

in concentration, their purposeful

De Vinci fingers poised

over submissive pieces.

No refugee status;

all belong here

nations are united in play.

East Europeans battle

with the Middle East, India

with Pakistan, Turkey

and Sudan. All men

dream of checkmate. In quiet

conference, these men remind themselves

of other lives, transform

into Kings, Generals, Bishops and Politicians.

But I notice the pawns and wonder

where do all the women and children gather

and what games do they play?


'I like to use the languages of the various arts – literature, music, theatre...I think that is the spirit of the modern global era.'- poet Ivan Hristov spoke to SJ Fowler of 3AM magazine about the evolution of the contemporary Bulgarian poetry scene.


Cosmin Borza discusses the work of Romania's 'Generation 2000' poets, including Radu Vancu and Claudiu Komartin in an essay at Asymptote.


At the Sofia Poetics festival, which was organised by Word Express participant Ivan Hristov, Scottish based poet Ryan Van Winkle caught up with fellow festival guests SJ Fowler and Tomasz Rózycki. To hear Fowler and Rózycki discussing their work and reading some of their poetry, listen to the Scottish Poetry Library podcast here.