hidden europe 5

Performing Europe

by Nicky Gardner


Two poems - one Polish and one Maltese - that probe the boundaries of an enlarging European Union.

The eastward expansion of the European Union (EU) last year, and the likely accession to the Union of Bulgaria and Romania in 2007, encourages us all to rethink Europe. In this issue of hidden europe we have, as in the past, taken special care to give voice and visibility to parts of the continent which, although they are as undeniably European as Paris or Cologne, simply get overlooked. Imagining a Europe of a broader canvas is not always easy. But are the performances of life in everyday Belarus and Bulgaria any less European than those we encounter in Belgium, the Alpine countries and Italy?

So it comes as happy reassurance to find another publication that takes as its brief a Europe that is altogether more exciting than the regular tourist trails between western European capitals. The journal is Orient Express and has nothing to do with trains, except insofar as the erstwhile route of the Orient Express train evokes the very mystery of interlaced identities and places that are palpably foreign.