Poems that See – the Day of the White Stick
- Written by Mirjana Backonja
BELGRADE – On the occasion of the World White Stick Day, dedicated to blind and other visually impaired persons, the promotion will be held at the Cultural Centre Dom omladine Belgrade at 7 p.m. of a noble project entitled Songs that See by poetess Ivanka Radmanović.
Her book of love poetry and a CD named Amarant, or about Immortal Love will be promoted at the venue, the aim of the entire project being the collection of funds to help visually impaired people.
The project was initiated by Radmanović, who lives in New York, and the Belgrade agency All About, with the assistance of the Association of Blind Persons of Serbia. Thanks to the project, actor Žarko Laušević returned to acting after twenty years by narrating the poetess's verses together with actress Lora Orlović, and they have also recorded a CD which will be promoted together with the book.
Besides Laušević, Orlović and Radmanović, contributions also came from Matija Bećković, Zoran Boldorac, the NO KACI printworks, the Studio TIM Talenat, the Studio Super Bombastic NY, the TEMET winery, and the ARTE publishing house, which published Amarant, or about Immortal Love.
The House of Good News spoke with the poetess ahead of the event.
Where did the idea for the book originate?
I have been writing love poetry since secondary school. This is a collection of poems created in various periods, and what brought them together was a story of a 4,000-year-old mummy of a woman found in China, in a region through which the Silk Road is believed to have passed long ago. The Tarim Beauty was so well preserved, regardless of the millennia that have passed, that it could still be seen that she was an exceptionally beautiful woman with long reddish and gold colored hair. The Chinese archeologist who discovered her said that when he picked her up he realised he was holding the most beautiful woman who had ever existed. “If I were alive in her time, I would have married her. If she were alive now, she would be my wife”, he added. Linked with this true yet somewhat magical story is our own human search for love, sometimes within reach, but going unnoticed for some reason. What is also specific of the book is that most poems are in the masculine gender.
Poems that See is a project of a humanitarian character. Why did you decide to dedicate your collection of poems to visually impaired people, on the occasion of the World White Stick Day?
Our team, under the genius leadership of Gordana Vlajić, the project's creative director, decided back in February to allocate all the funds from the sale of the CD and 20 per cent from the sale of the book to the Association of Blind Persons of Serbia, so that co-operation with them began even then. Back when Žarko and Lora were young actors, they had regular co-operation with the Association and continue to remember those days with great satisfaction.
And then this summer, as you know, that sad situation happened when funds were abolished for the Association and its library, which made our project even more important for us who participated in it and instilled in us even more will and desire to transform it into a lasting and socially conscientious and noble action, designed by the All About marketing team made up of Saša Grbović and Vuk Miletić, under the title Poems that See.
Our team hopes that the action will continue and that the next project will be the work of a different poet, writer, actor or actress.....We are hoping in the continuity of this noble action, which can been wholeheartedly supported by all who took part in it, as well as all those we approached in the meantime.
What was work on Poems that See like?
The project lasted nine months. There were no major problems – nothing that could not be solved by good will or effort. It’s wonderful that we inspired, supported and helped one another and that co-operation on this project proved what can be done if we unite good will and talent.
You inspired and stimulated the actor Žarko Laušević to return to acting after 20 years, and to read your poems for the CD. How much do such moments mean for you in your life?
Žarko inspired all of us with his voice. Hearing him read verses was one of those precious moments in life, which inspires you to do your best for the project to be at a level befitting such a talent. This is not just my own experience, but the experience of the entire team that was involved.
How do you see blind and vision-impaired persons, their talents, ambitions, opportunities?
If you provide the necessary conditions for anyone, that person’s potentials are endless. I was deeply touched by co-operation with Mr. Joksimović, the secretary of the Association of the Blind, and his team. They are people who are full of generosity, understanding, knowledge who perhaps do not see the world around us in the same manner, but for that reason profoundly feel it, in ways we do not know. If we, as a conscientious and aware society, returned that generosity, created the necessary conditions for more efficient life for vision-impaired persons, I am very convinced that their talents and ambitions would be more than evident.
What is your objective in life?
Objective? I would rather call it wishes, because ‘objective’ sounds final ... My wish is to continue involvement in creative projects, in the arts, fashion, or business. It is my desire to co-operate with local young talents, to assist and participate in noble projects like this one, to work on affirming Serbia as a country with an all-encompassing potential and talent.
What would you recommend to young and talented people who want to write poems?
Write, write, play, write, laugh, write, observe, listen - and - write!
Why did you opt for love poetry?
Love – as simple as it is complicated, as clear as it is mysterious, as happy as it is sad ... there are countless ways to write about it.
My thanks go to poetess and a great human being Ivana Radmanović, with a desire for the House of Good News, at least in this way, to join in and support this and similar projects which help those who are near and dear to us.
More State Assistance to Vision-impaired People
This project is the beginning of a continuous action by which we want to mark the next year, because besides funds for revitalising the Dr Milan Budimir library for blind and vision-impaired persons in Belgrade, it is necessary to secure funds for equipping the Centre for IT and Assistance Technologies to help in their work blind and vision-impaired secondary-school and university students and scientists.
”Regrettably, besides the white stick, dark glasses, a mechanical Braille typewriter, software voice synthesizer and digital player, blind people are not entitled to obtain subsidised or free technologically more modern gear. Although the state regularly issues formal decisions approving for the blind the obtaining free of charge of mechanical Braille typewriters and reproducers for listening to recorded books, for almost a year this equipment has not been distributed to blind people.
It is our aim to motivate public opinion and for legal persons to join this action and purchasing the CD or the book to show their corporate social responsibility and thereby help the blind and vision-impaired population. Serbia may not lag behind others by its social programmes and conditions in which persons with disabilities live,” Gordana Vlajić, PR consultant of the All About agency, has said.
Source: House of Good News