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