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Belgium/Italy-based poets Marina Kazakova and Sara Maino are set to meet California audiences with a unique blend of symphonic poetry on December 17 and 21. The two-women poetry show “I Can Speak” will take place at ‘Tomorrow Today’ in Los Angeles and ‘Specs’ Twelve Adler Museum Cafe’ in San Francisco’s North Beach, respectively, showcasing Kazakova’s recently completed PhD on symphonism.

Guiding spectators through an emotional journey of lyrical sound play, Kazakova and Maino’s performance promises to be a captivating exploration of their complex compositions, all in search of the relationship between sound and sense. The show is performed in English, Russian, and Italian bridging the poets’ connections to each other and the world.

Loosely autobiographical, the performance incorporates poems composed and recited by the two authors, along with their individual monologues. It unfolds around memories revisited by the two poets, highlighting key moments in their lives that pushed them in discovering their own language — the language of poetry.

The show is dedicated to depicting the most crucial process that every person must undergo at some point—the process of “gathering” or “concentrating” one’s personality, discovering the language of your own.

This is a journey through the thorns of the contexts in which we are raised towards the stars of self-discovery.

Marina does this journey amidst the culture of silence, the environment of the crumbling of the Soviet regime. It is in silence that poetry, like prayer, arose in her. In contrast, Sara’s poetic journey originates from the meadow of Monte Velo in Trentino, Italy — a mythical gathering place where stories are shared in a circle every Sunday.  The tales shared here connect the Trentino valleys to Sicily, Africa to Lake Garda; they traverse the ocean, reach America, and then return to a thousand meters Velo. At the same time, the meadow is encircled by mountains that obscure the horizon, creating a sense of confinement.

“I can speak” is both the voice of two artists in a challenging time, and the birth of a unique creative speech act.

Kazakova reflects on the show “I can speak”. I’ve finally freed myself from the taboo that we, people from the ‘culture of silence’, voluntarily and without agreement, followed for many years – never to talk about what we felt and what we saw. We were people with the usual people’s activities, joys, jobs, but we were marked by a seal – our cultural context. It is in silence that poetry, like prayer, arose in me. Poetry and symphonism became my saving belt. Firstly, because it proved my ability to speak and to speak on my own behalf. Secondly, because it prevented the inexpressible in me from remaining unexpressed, thanks to the language of sounds and images. And thirdly, through rhythm and repetition, poetry liberated the soul from tension, from everything this-worldly – bringing me to a feeling of peace.”

This international duo’s acclaim is evident; earlier this year, Kazakova and Maino were inaugural recipients of the Culture Moves Europe grant, facilitating the presentation of their two-poet show Foresta Rossa in Portugal at the 6th International Literary Festival FLII – WORDS OF FIRE. The performance shed light on the stories of those affected by forest fires, showcasing the poets’ commitment to using their craft to convey critical environmental messages.

In May 2023, supported by The Research Foundation – Flanders (Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek – Vlaanderen), Kazakova and Maino graced the stage of  ‘Ateneo Veneto Di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti’ the Festival internazionale di poesia Palabra en el mundo di Venezia with their show Café Europa. Two characters (Europa and the East-Comer) meet in a café in an unknown city. They confess their visions, feelings and memories to each other, giving the sense to seemingly solipsistic monologues. They explores themes of politics, humanity, philosophy, and current concerns from an antiwar, humanistic and often heart-opening perspective.

Now, armed with the prestigious Science Communication Grant from LUCA School of Arts, the duo is poised to bring their artistic vision to the United States. In addition to their live poetry performance “I Can Speak”, they will unveil their latest book, ‘Symphonism as a Strategy of Translating a Lyric Poem into an Audio-Visual Aria.’

Sara Maino and Marina Kazakova’s artistic journey demonstrates a committed dedication to the arts and a mission to create poetry with a global resonance. The support from LUCA School of Arts, Culture Moves Europe, and The Research Foundation – Flanders underscores the vital role of nurturing both artistic expression and scientific exploration.

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