November 19, 2017 Students gathered at Narva College in Narva, Estonia for Poetry and Human Rights Workshops. Participants looked at poems by American poets, Kaveh Akbar, Joy Harjo, and Maggie Smith and Estonian poets, Doris Kareva, Kristiina Ehin, and Juhan Liiv. We also looked at the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and talked about ways that Poetry can work as a tool for resistance to authoritarianism.
Narva lies on the border with Russia and has a history of ethnic tensions, exacerbated by the history of Soviet occupation, Russification, and economic struggle. Narva College serves as a meeting point for students from different ethnic and national backgrounds and a place that offers opportunities for innovation, peace-building, and revitalization in the region.
BY JUHAN LIIV
TRANSLATED FROM THE ESTONIAN BY H.L. HIX & JÜRI TALVET
It must be somewhere, the original harmony,
somewhere in great nature, hidden.
Is it in the furious infinite,
in distant stars’ orbits,
is it in the sun’s scorn,
in a tiny flower, in treegossip,
in heartmusic’s mothersong
or in tears?
It must be somewhere, immortality,
somewhere the original harmony must be found:
how else could it infuse
the human soul,
Source: Poetry (June 2011)