I arrived in Bucharest the morning of April 26th, not having the slightest clue how the next 7 weeks would pan out. It was a nice feeling - a young feeling; one of those reckless excitements that comes before anything else.
What I can say now, having arrived back in Ireland, is that every tour, be it poetry or music, comes with its occasional hiccups; its unavoidable stress and conflict of opinion; its unexpected moments of sheer bliss and speechlessness - and journeying through Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, Austria and the Czech Republic provided all of these things and more. I met poets, translators, listeners, poetry lovers, poetry haters, music fans, Ireland fans, honest taxi drivers (for a change), generous hosts, intriguing expats, old friends, new friends, actors, singers, and plain old good people. I had never been to Sibiu before, nor Ljubljana, Sarajevo or Olomouc. And I was charmed by each. I listened as scholars read my poetry that they had translated at the literary events I was so fortunate to have been a guest at, feeling ten foot tall. I have poetry by George Szirtes, Virgil Mazilescu, Catalina Stanislav, Claudiu Komartin, Vlad Pojoga, and many others to dive into now that I have time. This is not really a blog entry, but more of a thank you to everyone. Would I recommend other poets get out there and visit these places? Absolutely. Are trips like these something that make a poet feel like a rock star? Without a doubt. Would I do it all again tomorrow? In a heartbeat.