A series of conversations, lead by Elza Rauza, with the new generation of poets. Illustrations – Ēriks Sadovskis
Mārtiņš Mežulis, 16 years old, aspiring artist and poet, creator of “De.ģenerācija”
-Recently I have thought a lot about a question regarding our generation. What are your thoughts about our generation’s poets writing about the Soviet times, as we are from a post-Soviet country? This is seen a lot in poetry slams and readings.
-I think you can write about it, but the idea will come from the feelings and events you have heard or seen in films, read in books, not the ones that you have actually lived through. But on a bigger scale, I don’t have a problem with that.
-Oh, okay. I just question it because isn’t poetry for expressing one’s feelings and thoughts? Thus, if you write about something you haven’t experienced yourself, how genuine is it?
-Yes, of course, but on the other hand, it could be seen as an investigation. For example, I enjoy writing about something I haven’t even experienced yet, so poetry serves as an exploration and solving of confusion, after it I take the most valuable with me, and write it down what I have gained from it. Thus, something similar could be in the heads of those peers who write about the past. That is why I justify it.
– Is there an important author who has influenced you?
-Without a doubt, Ziedonis. Even though his poetry is amazing, he as a person is even more intriguing. If an artist has caught my eye, I like to go deeper and analyze them as a strong personality, not only their art. Ziedonis is a motivator for me to grow and be better. Going to places he has been in, for example, his summer houses in Murjāņi and Ragaciems, feels emotionally heavy but relieving at the same time.
-Do you differentiate an artist form their art?
-If one is interested in a certain artist, they can’t divide these two things. I also like to study artists, not only their work – what is the reason why they have created what they have created? What caused that?
-From my experience, I loved Maija Tabaka’s works, but then I found out that she was associated with KGB. This fact made me rethink, where I stand on this question.
-Yes, learning controversial facts truly makes you rethink your love for an artist. Thus, this question will always receive two-sided answers from me.
-What would you have done in Tabaka’s place?
-This is an extremely hard question. I guess, I would rather die than give information away about my closest, loved ones, especially as I am a patriot. Of course, my opinion could definitely change if I am actually in that situation because it is easier said than done.
-So, let’s stay with that hah. What kind of characteristics lack in most people?
-Not analyzing deep enough and looking at things only from one perspective. Similar to the Latvian saying “Don’t judge a man by his hat”, I suggest bringing this saying to the 21st century and remembering it always. I, myself, have forgotten it sometimes, and it never works in my favor. If you truly want to solve a being’s mind, then look at their actions from different sides, because every action has a story behind it.
-Yes, that is true. What is the biggest weakness of our generation? And can we change that? Is there even a need to do it?
-Definitely the same one-sidedness. Our generation still has it. I don’t think that should be changed, because if we all would be anarchists, the hierarchy will be lost, which is the way today’s society works. Balance should be kept, as it keeps us alive.
-Yes, substance for reflection… It makes you think about life.
-What do you gain from people-watching?
-It goes together with my love of analyzing verbal communication and movement to understand humans on a deeper level. I love psychology. Seems like this is the topic of today 😀
-Do you also educate yourself on this topic so that your poetry could be even more precise when talking about phycology?
-Yes, of course.
-Thank You for doing that, it is really important. Anyone can write something, but not everyone can write something meaningful. What is the perfect location for analyzing?
-I recommend people-watching in trains.
-Because no one ever wants to look at other people, so if you catch someone looking at you, they try to quickly mask it. That is pretty funny to me.
-Yeah, those chairs are made for that.
-Trains in general, for me, have this feeling of sentiment. Actually, I think my first poetry collection will be somehow related to trains. Because most of my work is made on trains – at 5.a.m or 12.a.m. – doesn’t matter. Everything is made on trains, almost everything. Movement is the keyword.
-Movement, exactly. What is the one thing you want people to remember, know about you?
-I don’t have anything specific, but I just want people to remember me. For the fact that I could possibly change the way people think. that is a strong ability, and I hope that I will have it. I know that I am capable of it, I see the way this puzzle of life and success should be solved, so I don’t think I will have a problem with that.
-This means that your future will be connected only to poetry or maybe something else is also planned?
-I have 100 and 1 plans for the future. I just have to make mental space and time for everything. The one characteristic I wish to not have is time management problems. But at the same time, that means that I can work on different projects at the same time. My art exhibition project, my poetry, everything.
-Oh, yes, how is it going with the exhibition project?
-It is really surreal that everything worked out wonderfully, especially in the exhibition opening, where there were around 100 people. It was ideal, I finally saw the hard work the team had put in. And I did not work alone. That is important to know how to work in a team because alone there is no way to reach success. You have to find a good team.
-You would say that it is your key to success?
-Yes, and I think it should be like that for everyone. Humans are not as powerful as we think we are. You can always be broken, at any given moment. Having people around you with the same goal as you is important because then the goal will be reached quicker. Of course, some goals have to be achieved by yourself only.