Click here for pictures: Raman Mundair - Mobile Snapshots
(taken on my wee mobile phone so apologies for the grainy quality...)
The Croatian Posse larging it in Macedonia.
(Mima Simic and Marko Pogacar)
Border control Turkey (from Greece) where some of us were unceremoniously dragged to a wee outbuilding in the middle of the night to pay for visas which I'm not entirely sure we needed...?!
Brutal Bahaus-ish archetecture at Skopje Station.
The ever luminous and entertaining Mima.
Efe - the last of the gallant poet-gentlemen, Skopje.
Swirling, smoky skies. Glimpses from the train from Skopje to Thessaloniki
Skopje, Macedonia - the evening sunset bled blood red and night fell like a stone into the deepest blue.
Istanbul, emerging from the Word Express train at Sirkeci Station
Butterfly head bowed and tired - another hotel room in another town in another country and surrendering to exhaustion somewhere between the East and the West.
Marko, Efe, Natasha and Mima at Zagreb just before we boarded the 'train to hell' - where we travelled for 24 hours (with a brief spell in Belgrade) to Skopje without berths in a wee stinky carriage. We started to joke about how we were 'so over' inter-railing and that we may have misjudged the project and actually it was some sort of Satre-esque 'No Exit' or Big Brother social experiment. Well, we emerged at the other end intimately aquainted with each other's feet, exhausted and stinky but still pals. :0)
The only train journey where I had a berth - woo hoo! The train from Greece to Turkey. Waiting for border control.
Macedonia, From a distance - two lovers and a minaret.
Skopje station and Mima shoots Marko.
The white tower, Thessaloniki water front.
Mirt - Slovenian poet-philosopher
Marko and a tired Efe.
Saska, Efe and Igor, Macedonia
Yes... things got so desperate at some points on the Word Express train journeys that we took comfort where we could... Marko turned to his furry friend...
Istanbul and the beautiful and atmospheric Cistern Basillica where one of the readings took place.
Snatched Greek sunset
. Belgrade, Serbia. This city has a real mix of architecture, some impressive, some brutal, some melancholy. Lots of facist/anti gay grafitti stained parts of the city. After Belgrade talk turned openly to war on the train. Precious and emotional stories were shared generously.
Saska and Skopje.
Efe paces the platform as we wait for yet another train. We're all a bit blurred by this point...
Me - tired and emotional and having 'The Shining' flashbacks in the red-carpeted corridors of the hotel in Skopje, Macedonia!
Greek sunset, Thessalonik
Film installation in Belgrade. This was a very powerful piece of art. Two screens: one showing footage of recent Gay pride marches in Belgrade and Zagreb where anti-Gay, homophobic violence was rife and tolerated by the police to a certain extent. Blood on the streets. Highly emotional. Juxtaposed with screen two where the artist (whose name I've unfortunately displaced.) has filmed the same spaces, this time peaceful, idyllic even, occupied by solo dancers who mimic/role play the physical aggression and violence from the marches. Very, very powerful. Mima and I end up talking at length about realities of being Queer and out in the Balkans.
Border control Greece. This is the perfect cafe. The place where 'fragile faced daughter' served me while Grandmama and Grandpapa looked protectively on. I could have stayed there for hours.
Bombed out building in Belgrade - in the middle of the city centre - gaping and melancholy. A piercing reminder of the recent history of the landscape.
Aristotle on his perch near the water's edge in Thessaloniki.
Anti gay graffitti, Belgrade.
Thessaloniki, Greece - Became fascinated by the real mix of architecture here. Efe (an architect, as well as a poet) switched me onto it - his head raised high, constantly grazing the skyline looking for new shapes and forms. This picture isn't a good example of the best building in Thessaloniki, but it an example of the best photo my poor, wee, under developed camera managed to take on the day!
Efe bag minding at Lublijana Station, Slovenia.
'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.