The Krakow Diaries

75 days in Krakow. On a literary grant from the German Kulturstiftung der Länder. In the Guesthouse of the 16th century Villa Decius, with 10 other writers from Poland, Germany, Belarussia, Ukraine and Georgia. Beautiful city. Nice Krakovians. Fun nightlife. Beautiful women. And in the guesthouse: Meetings of the minds. Too much vodka. Good friends. One of the great pleasures of my life.

Day #15: Sunday, Oct. 1: They Really Sing

Chili and Vodka Night at the Villa Decius was a real eye-opener. It's amazing what you can learn about your fellow intellectuals under conditions such as these (chili and vodka) that you can't learn elsewhere.

It didn't surprise me that Katja and Tanja danced.

It didn't surprise me that the Elusive Laryssa Andriejewska offered not only a toast but an unknown Ukrainian drink she set on fire (then doused).

It did not surprise me that hip post-modernist Polish novelist Mirek Nahacz (on the right, talking to Nicolai) had country music on his laptop and just happens to be one of the only people in Europe who loves "The Sot-Weed Factor" by John Barth as I do...

Nor that German poet Nicolai Kobus' brand new book of poetry is looking spectacular...

Nor did it suprise me that both Big Intellectual Bears - Ambrosi Griszikaszwili the Georgian Translator...

...and Andrej Khadanovich the White Russian Poet (you can read his poems in German translation here) - both showed up with vodka from home (in Andrej's case it was 56.5/103 vol.).

But I never thought I'd see the day when all those stories you hear about Slavs suddenly breaking into song were absolutely true...

Here's the proof:

(You can also go directly to YouTube: (Click here.)


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