Vanessa Redgrave Reads for Amnesty

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At the 60th Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival

At the 60th Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival

The 60th Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival ended just over a month ago with an evening which celebrated the work of many of the poets who have read at the Festival over its six decades. Among the poems was ‘Border Story’ by Bulgarian born Kapka Kassabova. It was written when Kapka took up the post of The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s first Writer in Residence last summer and marked the 50th Anniversary of Amnesty International.

Vanessa Redgrave read it as part of the evening’s programme and kindly agreed to make a recording of it, which has also been posted by Amnesty. You can hear Vanessa’s reading of the poem by clicking on the Audioboo link below.

The poem was commissioned by The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and appears here for the first time. The residency was run in association with The Hosking Houses Trust for women writers.

Border Story

On the 50th anniversary of Amnesty International

Imagine a line that runs through a house.
Then imagine a girl in a half-room of books
about far away. One day, she will leave,
this will become her life. Sometimes

she returns to the house, the half-bed,
the half-table, unpacks the half-library.
Listens for voices. But the girl
on the other side is gone. The noise

of twenty years passing stops one day
when they meet on a translated page,
or pass each other in a foreign street
and look away, and miss the cue.

Anyway, borders have moved,
other things matter, this is another age.
Their memories churn in revised mouths,
houses burn elsewhere. They have lovers.

Now imagine that’s you and I.
This the story of how and why
the world is getting better, the world
is getting better for some and not for others.

by Kapka Kassabova

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Author:Paul Edmondson

Head of Research and Knowledge and Director of the Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival for The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Follow Paul on Twitter @paul_edmondson

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