Longtime friend and collaborator, Justyn Hunia and I, performed my poem ‘Rosehip Syrup’ while screening Justyn’s footage and sound clips of his 92-year old grandmother, Amelia, who lives in an old wooden cottage in the southeast of Poland. Justyn has been documenting Amelia and her rugged, rural life for more than ten years. We finished by singing a song ‘with’ onscreen Amelia. Thanks to Christodoulos Makris and Olesya Zdorovetska, curators of the event. And thank you Olesya for the photos.
Text we displayed at the start:
Amelia is a 92 year old resident of Wola Komborska, a small village scattered amongst hills and forests of south-east Poland, where she spent her entire life in a traditional wooden cottage built by her great-grandfather. For over 10 years her grandson, Justyn Hunia was documenting her life, recording her life stories, songs, fantastical tales, and daily activities, guided by the rhythms of nature and liturgical year. Last autumn Amelia moved out of the cottage due to health reasons.
On a summer day of June 2013 Justyn took his poet-friend Alice Lyons to Wola Komborska, where Amelia treated them to her famous barszcz soup and a bowlful of pierogi. This encounter inspired Alice to produce an imaginative poetic account of that visit, ‘Rosehip Syrup’, which found its way into her collection The Breadbasket of Europe (2016, Veer Books, London).