Tuesday, December 28, 2010


STASSAERT BETWEEN THE YEARS is tonight's reading by Lucienne Stassaert from what her new volume of poetry will be. It is a comprehensive overview of her work, with a poem from each period of her writing. Those who never have heard her read, have missed something. With remarkable strength and honesty she directly speaks to her listeners. This is the last activity for Ruhr2010, European Capital of Culture. What remains are the books  that are produced within this framework.

The following poem gave the title to the book which will be presented January 27, GEDICHTENDAG in den Hopsack, Antwerp

In één adem

Vier de lente, de liefde niet.
Verzoen mijn lippen, groei mij aan
als de lente vergeefs wordt en bitterder.

Weer koesteren bomen landhonger,
drijven vogels de winter uit
de baaierd van april.

Ook dit zout, oud zeer, kennen we.
En zoals minnaars en vleermuizen blindvliegen,
geven dromen zich zelden bloot.

Met dit vermoeden leefden we;
het vuur aan de schubben, de schuimlippen.
Ooftbomen gloeien wit.

Wij sterven langzamer af -
droesemig, meestal achter glas.
Of zoals bloesem, in één nacht. 


In einem Atemzug

Fei’re den Frühling, die Liebe nicht
Entküss’ meine Lippen, verwachse mit mir
wenn das Frühjahr vergebens und bitter

Wieder … Bäume mit Hunger nach Land
treiben Vögel den Winter heraus
das Durcheinander des April’

Auch diese salzig’, alte Seelennarbe kennen wir
Und wie Liebende und Fledermäuse in Blindheit fliegen
Geben Träume sich selten nackt.

Mit diesen Ahnungen lebten wir,
das Feuer an den Schuppen, die Schaumlippen
Obstbäume verglühen zu Weiß.

Wir sterben langsamer ab –
Heruntergeflockt und abgesetzt, meist hinter Glas
Oder als Blüten während einer Nacht. 

In one breath
Celebrate spring, not love
appease my lips, grow on me
when spring turns in vain and more bitter.   

Once more trees cherish hunger for land,
drive birds out of winter
the hustle bustle of April.

Also this salt, this old pain, we know.
And like lovers and bats blindly fly,
dreams seldom bare themselves.    

With these inklings we lived;
fire at the fins, the frothy lips.
Fruit trees glow white.

We slowly decline -
dregs of wine, usually behind glass.
Or like the blossom, in one night.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Olivier Cousin on Klara

Although the Breton Language looses ten thousands of speakers every year, Breton poetry is alive and interesting. Olivier Cousin was representing them at our Small Festival of European Art of Poetry., last September. When he and Bart Stouten met it was as if two long lost brothers met and found each other. They obviously share a poetic sensitivity. So Bart had a wonderful program in The Garden of Eden on Klara with Olivier, read the dutch translations of Paul Gellings and interviewed Olivier about poetry in Breton and the regional poets. The music was wonderful and the program was sensitive and interesting.

Wat follows is poem with pars in Breton which will be published in Sounds of Harbor II

Au port du bout du monde

Au dernier bout de la terre
le port sourit au large
demi-cercle d’une blancheur ternie
evel bannieloù ouzh ar wern

Le port comprend toutes les vies
accepte toutes les devises
parle toutes les langues

Même s’il malmène toutes les grammaires
il conjugue tous les verbes
pas uniquement partir ou arriver

C’hoantoù mont kuit
o vont hag o tont
stag ouzh ma huñvreoù
evel bannieloù ouzh ar wern

Le port déploie le filet des rêves
au-delà des crachins et des brumes
oubliant tous les moutons sur la lande
  In the harbor at land's end        

At the last parcel of land                                   
the harbor smiles at the open sea
half circle of a dulled white
evel bannieloù ouzh ar wern

The harbor comprehends all lives           
accepts all currencies                                   
speaks all languages

Even though it manhandles all grammars                       
it declines all verbs
not only to leave or to arrive

C’hoantoù mont kuit
o vont hag o tont
stag ouzh ma huñvreoù
evel bannieloù ouzh ar wern

The harbor unfolds the dream net
beyond drizzle and sea mist               
all sheep left behind on the moors

(Traduite en français, la strophe en breton pourrait se lire  :

Des envies de départ
vont et viennent
attachées à mes rêves
comme des drapeaux sur le mât)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Olivier Cousin, Bretton Poet on Belgian radio

When at the Small Festival of European Poetry Olivier Cousin and Bart Stouten met, it felt as if two long lost brothers found each other. Tonight on radio Klara in De Tuin van Eden, Bart will in his unique way present some of the poetry of Olivier as translated into Dutch by Paul Gellings. The music too will be great. 7pm till 8pm:
if you have to miss it tonight you can find it  for a while in 'herbeluisteren'.

I am sharing a poem from Sounds of Harbor II in French and English

sms:foto duisburg 2010

 Rêve blanc

Départ demain pour Arkhangelsk
sans collision ni tâtonnements
Je saurai éviter le bois flotté
pour atteindre le port de l’archange blanc
Une belle blonde m’y attend
Pour briser la glace
une bière blanche au soleil de la nuit
Le poète cherche son âme dans chaque port
sa forme, une étoile à sept branches

J’ai le mal de mer
mes roubles n’ont plus cours aujourd’hui
je suis marié
mes illusions poétiques ne valent pas un kopeck
Arkhangelsk m’attendra
  White dream

Departure tomorrow for Arkhangelsk
without collisions or hesitations
I'll know how to avoid the driftwood
to reach the harbor of the white archangel                       
A pretty blonde waits for me there                                               
To break the ice
a white beer in the night's sun
The poet looks for his soul in every port
Its form, a seven pointed star

I am seasick
there is no exchange rate for my roubles today
I am married
my poetic illusions aren't worth a kopeck
Arkhangelsk will wait for me

  English: Annmarie Sauer

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Poets and friends

There are days that active friends keep one going. At four there was the presentation by Bert Bevers of his latest volume of poetry 'Andere taal'. 

Interesting medieval music and well read poetry was offered to the throngs of people who showed up to share this moment of joy. Here you see Bert signing a book for a friend and thinking/writing down a fitting dedication. His poetry always has an air of history, observations of works of art and daily life. There is gentle steadiness in his way offering tranquility and reflection. Quite a gift to the readers.

Vera Alexander Beerten had her presentation in the evening in Gallery The black Panther . Here you see her listening to Professor emeritus Joris Gerits who gave a deep analysis of her third volume of poetry. She read well and the chill that was in the winter air installed itself between the shoulder blades with all the brilliant poems about loss of close friends and her mother. In 'Slechts kwade wind' you're going to discover images and heaviness for the soul which probably will console people going through the same feelings yet don't know how to express them.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Summertime by J.M. Coetzee

On a cold snowy, icy day at the 'Salon du Livre' in Colmar I stumbled upon Summertime by J.M. Coetzee. I have read Disgrace and several books of his essay's about literature and have been intrigued by Coetzee as a writer. So Summertime was meant to warm my chilly winter evenings. two nights was what it took to be warmed once again to this writer. The plot seems funny: a young English biographer wants to write a biography of late Mr. Coetzee and he searches out 5 respondents who knew him in the 1970's the formative basic years for his writing. So through 'conversations and interviews' and 'proofreading' of the transcription of the interview, Coetzee manages to weave in a lot nuance and possibilities. He draws a picture of himself as awkward, extremely insecure and socially incompetent, without a hair of sexual air about him. It made me smile, made me think about South Africa and the changes that took place and how estranged and alienated I felt when visiting the country because of work. And I recognize the question  that is asked in the book how to define where one stands politically or ethically. His teetering between radical (exemplified by doing his manual labor himself, although is inept at it, in order not to exploit a black person and feeling 'Afrikaander' because nobody claims what went on before and without Afrikaanders there would be no guilt, which he assumes. So J.M. Coetzee, thanks for another book and a lesson in letting go of taking oneself too seriously. Friends, read the book!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Im Meer der Kirschen
Meer der Blüten
bei Beiden lächelnd geworden
sucht meine Seele den Berg
wo alle Gedanken fluten

Fred Schywek
* * *
In de zee van kersen
zee van bloesem
bij beiden glimlachend geworden
zoekt mijn ziel de berg
waar alle gedachten over stromen

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Harbor to harbor in the bookworm

A presentation in German and English in Strasbourg, France in the Bookworm, the English-American Bookshop is an intimate affair. The small bookshop however makes the poets get close to their listeners, who thus also lend their deepest attention. It was a warm revisiting of place and people.

It was the French presentation of Sounds of Harbour, by six poets and Felsenleiter, written by Fred Schywek. The bi-lingual experiment worked also between the German poems and its English translation. The listeners were, among others, deeply impressed by 'Wenn mann nichts hat'
When Fred read from Felsenleiter, there was absolute silence and concentration... Also acknowledgement of the quality of his writing.

es wird licht

ein lichter Wald
eine Rohre mit Abstand

von Wand zu Wand
von Baum zu Baum

in dieser Nacht
ist alles möglich

es wird licht hier.

it’s becoming light

a light forest
a tube with distance

from wall to wall
from tree to tree

in this night
all is possible

it’s becoming light here.

Furthermore, the anthology 'Love in Holland and Flanders' was presented and poems were offered from 'Werkwoorden, Werkworte, Workbook' 
With one of the poems, the owner of the shop burst into tears, asked the text and had mailed it to the other end of the world by the end of the poetry evening:

Early morn
when summer
into autumn

The first
I saw
   was Thee

The first I
the first
I became
   was we
All this was the last event in the year of Ruhrgebiet 2010, European Capital of Culture , organized by Fred Schywek. Yet expect more poetic action next year.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Lucienne Stassaert, one of the Grand Ladies of poetry written in Dutch, reads her latest cycle Leven - Leben - Life. She is accompanied by Jean Demey on the clarinette who improvises with feeling and intelligence carrying her words.
Fred Schywek reads his German translation of the following poem: Leven (3)

Verkoold als het is
door een al te hoge hitte

ligt het als een gewezen
ster voor het rapen

in een steeg
vol geblakerde stilte –

Je kan er niet
in of uit

schaduwen tellen
is al wat je rest

tijdens het knakken
van een vroege herfst

zodra de wind
een buikspreker wordt
op zoek naar een uitweg –
Verkohlt wie es ist
durch viel zu hohe Temperatur

liegt es als ein ausgeglühter
Stern kurz vor dem Aufheben

in einer Gasse
voll mit schwarzer geräucherter Stille -

Du kannst da
weder rein noch raus

Schatten zähl'n
ist all das was dir bleibt

zur Zeit des Knackens
des frühen Herbstes

alsdann der Wind
sich verwandelt in einen Bauchredner
auf Suche nach Ausweg -

German: Fred Schywek
Charred as it is
by too high a heat

it lays there as a has been    
star up for grabs

in an alley
full fire-blackened silence -

you can not enter it
nor leave

counting shadows
is ll that is left to you

in the cracking   
of an early autumn

as soon as the wind
turns ventriloquist
looking for a way out -

us: Annmarie Sauer

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Rock Stairs

The book Felsenleiter by Fred Schywek is out! The book is wonderful and available in German. An English translation is being prepared. Follows Sing in German and a preview in English:


Die Seele geht
der Leib der bleibt
Entrückung kommt
sing sing, du King
von Blut von
äth’risch’ Glut
du King du sing
der Wind der weht
der Schnee der geht
du sing du King
auf Horizonten
mit neuem Winter
Mantel bau dein
Schiff die Jungs
vom Leib der bleibt
die Seele baut
ein Schiff für
dich und deine Frau
und dein Fahr Rad
frag mal die Jungs
ob du den Sattel
brauchst zum tauchen
gerade jetzt wo
die Post Karte
singt du King

The soul goes
the body that stays
detachment comes
sing sing, you King
of blood of
ethereal glow
you King you sing
the wind blows
away the snows
you sing you King
on horizons
with new winter
coat build your
boat the guys
of the body that stays
the soul builds
a boat for
you and your wife
and your bicycle
do ask the boys
whether you need the
saddle to dive
just now when
the post card
sings you King

 English: Annmarie Sauer

Friday, November 12, 2010


 Strasbourg: The Bookworm, Wednesday November 24, 2010, rue de Pâques.  You are invited!

 In the framework of Ruhr area 2010, European Capital of Culture an independent, original translation project was started by Fred Schywek under the name Flußschiffahrt. Fred Schywek, poet, publisher and translator in this project into German and Annmarie Sauer, poet and translator into Dutch and  English present a midway revue of poetry that will or has found it's place in Flußschiffahrt. They will read from two anthologies Hafenklänge Havenklanken Sounds of Harbour and  Die Liebe in Holland und Flandern De Liefde in Holland en Vlaanderen Love in Holland and Flanders. The Sounds of Harbour consists of poetry by six poets from 4 countries fascinated by ports and water, each dealing in a highly personal way with the subject. From light haerted to historic, from longing to loss, you'll find it in this elegant volume. One poem is written by all six poets under the name Charles Kléber. The book about love has one poem in three languages by nine poetesses from yes Holland and Flanders.

Two other books will also be presented: Felsenleiter by Fred Schywek, with a first performance of some of his poetry in English as a preview to the later publication of the bilingual Rock Stairs Felsenleiter. The poetry is personal and political, critical and tender. Schywek's style is powerful by its originality and will make you feel and think. He also questions language itself. Quite a ride!
Werkwoorden Werkworte Workbook is the last book by Annmarie Sauer, she made it as a farewell present to her colleagues. You find a lot places in Europe and Africa, personal musings inspired by a view or a word while working for the European Parliament, without ever writing about the Parliament itself. She wanted to show her colleagues their world through her eyes. Mainly written in Dutch and English but also some German.

Both poets are good performers and do think about how to present poetry in a multilingual setting. They are looking forward to this European safe haven in Strasbourg and hope to talk to you all after the reading.  

This is their last performance in 2010 Ruhr area Capital of European Culture year.

You can read about the three day Festival they organized at www.Dichtkunst.eu

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bienek's Blackbox One II

Just a sample of what one finds In Wilfried Bienek's Blackbox One, available online in a few days. This poem was read during 'Gegenlesung', the german night in den Hopsack in Antwerp. Enjoy:

Auch schon mal in Dich gegangen?
Verdammt große Räume.
Bescheiden möbliert.
Fenster mit Aussicht.
Andere verhangen.

Ein paar Zentimeter
Teppich über dem Boden.
Staubfarben, klar.
An- und ausgehende Lichter.
Zeitweise trüber Geruch.

übermalte Bilder von über-Malern.
Auch Fälschungen? Wer weiß!
Ein Fernseher mit
kleinem Schwarz-weiß Bild.
Mit Sendungen aus den 50ern.

Eine Standuhr,
die ihrem Namen Ehre macht.
Eine bunt lackierte Tür.
Dahinter ein Plumpsklo
mit Zeitungen als Papier.

Die lieb und werten am Eßtisch.
Vertieft ins Gespräch über
Thema Nummer eins:
über Dich, altes Haus!


Ben je al eens tot jezelf gekomen?
Verdomd grote kamers.
Bescheiden bemeubeld.
Venster met uitzicht.
Andere afgedekt.

Een paar centimeters
tapijt over de vloer.
Stofkleuren, natuurlijk.
Aan- en uitgaande lichten.
Bij tijden treurige geur.

Overschilderde beelden van overschilderaars.
Ook vervalsingen? Wie weet!
Een televisie met
klein zwart-wit beeld.
Met uitzendingen uit de jaren 50.

Een staande klok,
die haar naam eer aan doet.
Een bont gelakte deur.
Daarachter een plons wc
met kranten als papier.

Die lief en gekoesterd aan de eettafel.
Verdiept in het gesprek over
themanummer één:
over jou, oud huis!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Blackbox One

 Meet Wilfried Bienek reading his poetry from Hafenklänge Havenklanken Sounds of Harbour during the Festival on September 18.


But now there is more news. His next boek of poetry Blackbox One is availlable since today. The picture on the right is the cover picture from the sixth book published by Fred Schywek, world internet books, in the framework of Ruhr Area 2010 EuropeanCapital of Culture

The poetry in this volume exemplifies  his idiosyncratic and ironic worldview.

Der zerbrochene Krug

Ein Krug zerbrach.
De Mann: Das Kind wars.
Das Kind: Der Mann wars.

Falsch: Der Krug wars.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Having pondered  about different ways to deal with multilingualism in a performance, the poem 'Wenn man nichts hat' by Fred Schywek was performed simultaneously in German and in Dutch by Fred Schywek and Annmarie Sauer.

©: Bram Goots

From  Hafenklänge - Havenklanken - Sounds of Harbour:

Wenn man nichts hat
(für Brel und Mega)

Heute war der Tod bei mir zu Haus
aufgeteilt in selbst und Rauch
geschrien hierher durch eine Angst
gerufen von der Flöte auf dem Brett

heute singen die Engel zum erstenmal
die Zeit herein vom großen Tor

Heute waren wir am Hafen
sahen fliegend stinkend Fisch

sahen Körper im Fluß
sahen dunkle Wasser ohne Gnade

Heute ist ein Freund gestorben
heute ist heute tot

waren wir an der See
brachen Wellen wie wir es früher taten

sangen die Lieder der Trunkenbolde
roten Wein am Hals

Heute ist wenn man nichts hat
wenn der Vogel der Bär deine Mutter nie gewesen
im Knistern der sterbenden Flamme
im Trommeln des schwarzen Hans

die Bilder der frühen Tänze
heute ist der Tod zu Gast
und er hat sich genommen
zu früh &
ohne Gnade
ohne Musik
so kalt wie der kalte Fluß
da oben

da waren Sommer
gemeine weite Wege

ist es da oben
doch die Welt

da war Kohlenschmiere
da war Saxophon
da war

da ist etwas

wenn man nichts hat
außer das Leben

Als men niets heeft
(voor Brel en Mega)

Vandaag was de dood thuis bij mij
toebedeeld in zelf en rook
hierheen geschreeuwd door een angst
geroepen door de fluit op de plank

vandaag zingen de engelen voor ’t eerst
de tijd binnen van de grote poort

Vandaag waren we aan de haven
zagen vliegend stinkend vis

zagen lichamen in de stroom
zagen donker water zonder genade

Vandaag is een vriend gestorven
vandaag is vandaag dood

waren wij aan zee
braken golven zoals we vroeger deden

zongen de liederen van de dronkenlappen
rode wijn in de keel

Vandaag is als men niets heeft
als de vogel de beer je moeder nooit was
in het knetteren van de stervende vlam
in het trommelen van Zwarte Hans

de beelden van vroege dansen
vandaag is de dood te gast
en heeft voor zich meegenomen
te vroeg &
zonder genade
zonder muziek
zo luid als de koude stroom
daar boven

daar waren zomers
gewone wijde wegen

is het daarboven
toch de wereld

daar was kolensmurrie
daar was saxofoon
daar was

daar is iets

als men niets heeft
dan het leven

Dutch: Annmarie Sauer

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Yesterday's blog ended with a poem from Hafenklänge, Havenklanken, Sounds of Harbour. The books arrived finally after a two weeks plus anticipation. Here they are, with their own poster and greeting card. One bookshop has them for sale: The Groene Waterman and soon even the Standaard bookshop will carry the anthologies and individual volumes of poetry.
The authors from this book are : Fred Schywek, like a friend noticed a cross between Schiller and Arthur Rimbaud, and Wilfried Bienek, both from Germany, Ruhrgebiet2010 Cultural Capital of Europe area, staring in the Gegenlesung evening: Deutschland im Fadenkreuz, in den Hopsack. The other poets write in Dutch: Job Degenaar, who surprised us with his songs and the tearjerker: Junge komm bald wieder during the festival, Roger Nupie (see yesterday's post), and our city poet laureate Peter Holvoet-Hansssen with his idiosyncratic, surprising performances. And yours truly, writing sometimes in English and other times in Dutch. The creative yet loyal German translations are by Fred Schywek. Respecting the original, he turns them into real German poems one can read at a poetry evening in the Rhineland. For the English I am responsible in this volume.
We're a bunch of people intrigued by harbors, water, inland waterways, the sea. And at least one of us is intrigued by the sea-bears and seabeds... at least in  his poetry. Special in the book is that the six poets wrote Gezeit, Tij, Tide each in 2 quatrains. (I heard later a similar form under the name of Renga exists in Japan) This poem features in the book under the name of Charles Kléber - kind of Charley Glued Together... On the road from New York to Amsterdam American (street)musician Ken Post joined in the merrymaking of sounds of harbor and putting a bit of guitar blues under an antiwar blues poem, which you' be able to read in a later blog..
 Les Sons du Port sont arrivé - Fresh words are in the air...!
It is fitting the books arrived just when I was going to deal with that part of the festival evening.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Master of Ceremony reads

Roger Nupie, how to describe his qualities? He is the president of the Nina Simone fan club and knew her well. He likes his diva's.  As an MC he is is funny, and efficient, keeps a good rhythm. As a poet he is can be bitter, sweet and naughty. The the anthology Sounds of Harbor he has a rather funny and and slightly skewed. He reads The embarkation is with a lot  of aplomb.
©: Bram Goots


De liefde
haar getijden

Dat wegeebben blijft
ons bij versteend 
op de oever

halen we

Die Liebe
ihre Gezeiten.

Das Wegebben bleibt
uns erhalten, versteinert
auf dem Ufer.

holen wir
das Morgen.

German: Fred Schywek

its tides.

This ebbing away stays
with us petrified
on the shore.

will we make it
to tomorrow.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Two musicians, one a poet

Here the incredible duo enjoyed by all: Lucienne Stassaert, the Grande Dame of Poetry reading from the cycle: Long enough.
It is a heart wrenching end of love situation, sharply formulated, merciless in its honesty.

One of Lucienne's poetry's strong points is the rhythm. She played even in the Queen Elizabeth competition. When proofreading a translation of her work, she will try out the cadence of the new coat for her feelings and thoughts.

Here she plays with her friend Jean Demey.

  pictures: © Bram Goots

Jean  does grand improvisations.
That is how we met. He has a feel for the moods and the color of the words. His playing with Lucienne's words was in different shades of blues. in the past  he performed with poets as Paul Snoek, Hugo Raes, Willem Roggeman, Cees Buddingh and Gust Gils,

Lang genoeg
Lang genoeg quatre-mains gespeeld
zonder één keer op te kijken,
na te gaan zoals Orfeus
of mijn lief al dan niet nog bestond.

Lang genoeg bij hoge noten
een bas gemist bij het samenspel
om de toonloze stilten te wegen
vóór en na de kleine dood.

Jodelen kon. En zich te pletter ademen
zoals minnaars op het hoogst van de min
in volle vlam uit het licht vallen
en in den blinde uit elkaar.

Tot op een zeker zwart-wit moment,
juist afgesteld en gekadreerd,
de waarheid als een inmaakbom
van verrot fruit aan scherven sprong:

Hij speelde al jaren niet meer mee.
Long enough
Played a duet long enough
without looking up once,
checking as Orpheus
whether or not my lover still existed.

Long enough with high notes
missed a bass in this ensemble
to weigh the toneless silences
before and after la petite mort.

Yodelling possible. Breathing oneself to pieces
as lovers at the height of ardour
in full flame fall out of the light
blindly fall apart.

Till a certain black/white moment,
correctly focused and framed,
the truth like a preserving bottle bomb
of rotten fruit exploding in shards:

He hadn’t played along for years.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Rose Vandewalle here in the studio when we recorded the poems included in the different anthologies we are working on. Her she is reading her poems from Love in Holland and Flanders. She reads in a fragile, faltering voice which renders all the emotion that went into the writing of the poem. During the evening at the Permeke library she read Always at the bottom of the steep stairs

So today I post another of her love poems.
Wanneer ik zijn kamer betreed
valt op hoe overstuur hij is
zijn ogen schichtige vissen in een vijver

hij kan me niet meer thuisbrengen
geeft na enig aarzelen toe dat dit
de heerlijkste dag is van zijn leven

nu ik hem kom bevrijden
en hij reikt me zijn pols
waarrond de band met identificatie

dat het oorlog is, verkondigt hij
en hij met eigen ogen heeft gezien
hoe mensen om zich heen

gebrandmerkt en afgevoerd werden
tranen van angst slaan om
in tranen van vreugde
Wenn ich seine Kammer betrete
fällts auf wie durcheinander er ist
seine Augen kopfscheue Fische in einem Teich

er kann mich nicht mehr nach Haus bringen
gibt nach einigem Schwanken zu daß dies
der herrlichste Tag seines Lebens

jetzt da ich komme ihn zu befreien
und er reicht mir seine Hand
worum das Band mit der Identifikation

daß es Krieg ist, verkündigt er
und er mit Augen gesehen hat
wie Menschen um ihn herum

gebrandmarkt und abgeführt werden
Tränen von Angst schlagen um
in Tränen aus Freude
When I enter his room
it's obvious how disturbed he is
his eyes shy fishes in a pond

he can not place me
admits after a few hesitations that this
is the most delightful day of his life

now I come to liberate him
and he offers me his wrist
around it his identification strip

that it is war, he declares
and that his own eyes have seen
how people around him

were branded and deported
tears of fear turn into
tears of joy

Monday, September 20, 2010

Preparing for a performance

Preparing for a performance entails meeting the people one will be surrounded by for the next couple of hours.  LIGHT, COMPOSITION OF THE STAGE, SOUND CHECK: essential and Roel, the technician covered it all in a kind and gentle and professional way. Thanks to him all worked well and smoothly. When Lucienne Stassaert, Frank De Vos and Patricia van Nunen were done gauging the distance to the microphone, knowing were they would read or sing, they relaxed with a glass of excellent Portuguese cava.

The anker of the evening

Roger Nupie was the MC, he kept a good rhythm going, announced with a lighthearted seriousness. One could tell he was having fun doing what he did. See the sign Rurhgebiet 2010 ? Well it is in the framework of the Cultural Capital of Europe that this big translation project started.

Patrica opened the evening with a song by Jean Ferrat: Le poète a toujours raison - The poet is always right. She performs a capella and goes to edge of what is singable. I am always moved by her renditions...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Three day Festival is over

This the official handing over picture of three books: The Anthology Die Liebe in Holland and Flanders,Liefde in Holland en Vlaanderen, Love in Holland and Flanders, Felsenleiter by Fred Schywek and Werkworte, Werkwoorden, workbook by Annmarie Sauer.

The Small festival of European poetry is over. The last night in the library went as well as the night in den Hopsack , last Thursday. The preparation for this festival took eight month of work, planning and thinking for the two organizers. The choice of poetry, the projection of translations in Dutch, German and English, the different ways of presenting the poetry, all was appreciated by the audience. As one of camera operator said, we offered something for the eye and the ear, had different duets who read together indifferent ways, simultaneous, whispering, interspersed lines.... One singer full of emotion and presence and one enjoying the acoustics and ringing out... People had been encouraged to do something with the presentation and many rose to the challenge performing with a base guitar, singing a tear-jerking harbor song with a guitar as the frivolous ending. One poem was danced... People were curious at what would happen next.So all was well. The picture above is Fred Schywek reading with Frank De Vos an Anti War Blues... In the next days I'll thank each poet and performer with a text and/or a picture. Five languages were used in the course of the night...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Love in Holland and Flanders

 Today is the great day of  the Festival. Part of it, the third part is about 'Love' The poetesses will read poems  from the book Love in Holland and Flanders. It is the official international presentation of the book tonight. Yesterday in the studio 4 of the poetess read their complete contribution to the project. it went smoothly and the music with Lucienne Stassaerts poems sounds great. We'll have to see what we do with the material when it is complete. Many projects and thoughts.

3 pm building the stage, sound check and lights, working technical issues  for projections.
4 pm: general rehearsal...
7 pm: door s open to the public
8 pm: start with the song: Le poète a toujours raison...

Friday, September 17, 2010

German Evening- International day

The poets have arrived. My place filled to the brim with paper and books now houses two more poets one from Bretagne France and one from Essen Germany. Wilfied Bienek presented his poetry in German and English, and translations of his work were read in Dutch and English. Fred Schywek presented his latest volume of Poetry Felsenleiter

They were flanked by the translations by Annmarie Sauer. Bart Stouten, Olivier Cousin, and JOb Degenaar shared thoughts about German poets.
A German translation by Fred Schywek of Frank's poem was also read. The audience listened appreciatively to the change of language and moods that was offered. The following tribute by Fred Schywek to the only German Nobel prize laureate for poetry Nelly Sachs was performed.

God is Black  
Memory of Nelly Sachs

That is a real death-dance
all moan and groan
and during the year of punishment
that is there on the horizon
with its hard mountains
and the water
out of the salt cried tears
of these nights
on the ferry over the Black Ocean
over the black river
in the stronghold where there was love
in the night between the stones
like dark diamonds yet shining
in this night
when I left my dearest
when I went
to kiss her
on her brow
by night in this night
waking up from the
white dream
of year 1


Friday, September 10, 2010

German Poetry

On the 16th two German poets Wilfried Bienek, (Essen) and Fred Schywek (Duisburg) are the main attraction for Gegenlesung, Deutsland ins Fadenkreuz: Counter lecture: Germany in the line of sight. This activity takes place in den Hopsack, in Antwerp, at eight thirty pm of course.
Here a poem inciting to resistance...

Autos zerfahren ziellos Reih und Glied.
Bäume zerschneiden planlos Lichterketten.
Wenn die Stadt prunkt rar und stattlich
Das Land glänzt porentief.

Aufpoliert ist der Fluss.
Von fleißigen Wasserträgern.
Aber da die überbrückten Kanäle:
Dampfen falsch ins Weite.
Als wollten sie sprechen
Sagen: Schöpft Verdacht

Auto's rijden doelloos rij en gelid stuk.
Bomen snijden zonder plan door lichtslingers.
Als de stad pront fijn en statig
Het land glanst tot diep in de poriën.

Opgeboend is de stroom.
Door vlijtige waterdragers.
Maar daar de overbrugde kanalen:
Stomend fout de wijdte in.
Alsof ze spreken wilden
Zeggen: Maakt verdacht!

For more info about the Small Festival of European Poetry check www.Dichtkunst.eu
For those who don't know: den Hopsack is a small, brown, literary café, active in this field during many years. And not unimportant with the cheapest beer in town. Grote Pieter Pot Straat...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Love in Holland and Flanders

This is the cover of Love in Holland and Flanders, a small edition with 9 poetesses and each one poem. Of course it is a tri-lingual publication. Since today it is available in Germany.

In  www.surf.to/program  for the Small Festival of European Poetry you click on the left side on 'Aktuelle Anthologie***
Die Liebe in Holland and Flandern.

Now follows a poem by Catharina Boer from this anthology.

In zo’n zwarte montycoat,
mijn haar woei uit een
capuchon, schooltas woog
als lood, gaat ze graatmager

op hoge wankelhakken.
Staat daar. Staart, mascaraveeg
traan of regen, in schrale
maandagnamiddag en wacht.

Met oordop, boek en liefdes-
verzen even zat, wacht ze.
tot hij komt, haar overkomt
en wat dan nog te dromen overblijft.

Zo haal ik haar in. Leen haar
mijn oud verhaal. Opdat zij
leest, herschrijft.

In so einem Dufflecoat
mein Haar weht aus einer
Kapuze, Schultasche wog
wie Blei, geht sie grätenmager

auf hohen Wackelhacken.
Steht da. Starrend, Wimperntuschenschmiere
Tränen oder Regen, in Dürrheit
Montagnachmittag und wartet.

Mit Ohrenstöpseln, Buch und Liebes
Versen fast voll, wartet sie.
Bis er kommt, sie überkommt
und was dann noch zu träumen über bleibt.

So hole ich sie ein. Leihe ihr
meine alte Geschichte. Auf daß sie
liest, wieder neu schreibt.

In one of those black Monty coats
my hair blown loose from a
hood, schoolbag heavy
as lead, she thin like a stick

on high wobbly heels.
Stands there. Stares, smudge of mascara
tear or rain, on a bleak
Monday afternoon and waits.

With earplug, book and love
poetry, a moment filled, she waits.
till he comes, overcomes her
and what then is still left to dream.

So I catch up with her. Lend her
my old story. So that she
reads, rewrites.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Embarkation

The local Tv Channel had a call for boots men for Inland waterways, with a one year contract. I immediately thought of Roger Nupies rather naughty poem. You can hear him at the Small European Festival of the Art of Poetry, September 18, in the Permeke Library Antwerp, where he will MC the event en read his poetry too.

sms:foto duisburg/rhein 2010
© Portrait of the poet
De inscheping

O zeebonk, zoek mij
bij de blinde passagiers,
bij de bevaren kapiteins
en de jonge schippers.

O zeemaat, scheep mij in,
ik wil bootje met u varen,
uw rivier bakenen,
uw vlag hijsen.

O zeegast, ik hoor
uw bootsfluit al,
ik zie uw scheepslantaarn,
ik voel u aan boord komen.

O zeeman, bevracht mijn schip
sla mijn schroef achteruit,
gooi mijn roer om,
voel mijn vrijgezellenknoop.

O zeerob, uw dekknecht
zal ik zijn.
En nu, alle hens,
ahoy, kies het zeegat!

Die Einschiffung

Oh Seebär, such' mich
bei den blinden Passagieren,
bei den erfahrenen Kap'täns
und den jungen Schiffern.

Oh Meermaat, schiff mich ein
Boot fahren will ich mit dir,
an eueren Fluß die Baken setzen,
eu're Flagge hissen.

Oh du Seekerl, ich höre schon
deinen Bootsmanns Pfiff,
ich sehe eu're Schiffslaterne
ich fühle euch kommen an Bord.

O Seemann, befrachte mein Schiff
schlag mein Schraubenwerk heraus,
werf mein Ruder um,
fühle meinen Junggesellenknopf.

Oh Seerobbe, dein Deckknecht
soll ich sein
und nun, alla Mann,
ahoi, wähl' die Pforte hinein in die See!

German by Fred Schywek

Oh seadog look for me
among the stowaways,
among experienced captains
and the young skippers.

Oh sea mate, embark me
I want to sail with you
beacon your river,
and hoist your flag.

Oh sea bloke, already I hear
your boatman’s whistle
I see your ships lantern,
feel your coming on board.

Oh seaman, load my boat
lift up my rotor,
turn my rudder,
feel my bachelor’s knot.

Oh sea stud, your deck mate
I shall be
and now, all hands,
ahoy, sail through the sea gate.

English by Annmarie Sauer