Saturday, July 02, 2016

Prague changes a poet’s view of world

Winter in Prague turned out to be a blessing for Dunedin poet David Howard. The Unesco City of Literature residency recipient tells Rebecca Fox of an experience which changed his thinking.
A visit to a Nazi concentration camp is a sobering one which massively impacts a person.
It did so with poet David Howard, so much so he went home and tore up the work he had spent the previous weeks on.
‘‘All the material I made I looked at it in a completely different way. I looked at it as full of false starts and game playing and clever turns of language and ego-based attempts to convince readers how clever I was.
‘‘It was a series of false starts with some good stuff, yes. But not nearly as much good stuff as I thought.
‘‘That came directly out of going through the concentration camp and realising what I thought was important wasn't. I needed to go way deeper to deserve readership.''
Howard, a former Burns Fellow (2013), was in Prague for the two-month Unesco residency when he made the visit to Theresienstadt concentration camp where tens of thousands were killed during World War 2.


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