Writersblog

Salomon Kroonenberg

Salomon Kroonenberg, Dutch writer

The Dutch programme at the International Book Fair in Beijing was cunn... >>> read more

Kai Kang

Kai Kang, Journalist China Reading Weekly

Dear Dutch publishers. The book fair is over. Perhaps you’ll now... >>> read more

Ingrid and Dieter Schubert

Ingrid and Dieter Schubert, Dutch illustrators

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Michele Hutchison

Michele Hutchison, Editor De Arbeiderspers

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Michele Hutchison

Michele Hutchison, Editor De Arbeiderspers

Big excitement today since we were finally meeting with Songyu from Fl... >>> read more

Michele Hutchison

Michele Hutchison, Editor De Arbeiderspers

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Thomas Möhlmann

Thomas Möhlmann, Staff member Dutch Foundation for Literature

What an evening the poets and the approximately 200 onlookers present ... >>> read more

Ingrid and Dieter Schubert

Ingrid and Dieter Schubert, Dutch illustrators

It’s now the third day, and the first one with plenty of sun. Un... >>> read more

Kai Kang

Kai Kang, Journalist China Reading Weekly

What a great opportunity to learn about the Dutch literature for Chine... >>> read more

Salomon Kroonenberg

Salomon Kroonenberg, Dutch writer

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Michele Hutchison

Michele Hutchison, Editor De Arbeiderspers

‘In the era of browsing, we provide reading.’ - Slogan see... >>> read more

Michele Hutchison

Michele Hutchison, Editor De Arbeiderspers

The jewel in the crown of our collection of Arbeiderspers titles publi... >>> read more

Michele Hutchison

Michele Hutchison, Editor De Arbeiderspers

The Chinese publishers I have met during the course of my career, the ... >>> read more

Salomon Kroonenberg

Salomon Kroonenberg, Dutch writer

I have so far never been to a book fair. Nor do I know what to imagine... >>> read more

Kai Kang

Kai Kang, Journalist China Reading Weekly

Since 2006, I began writing about the Netherlands’ performance a... >>> read more

Henk Pröpper

Henk Pröpper, Director Dutch Foundation for Literature

Now that the fair is just round the corner, this is perhaps the moment... >>> read more

Henk Pröpper

Henk Pröpper, Director Dutch Foundation for Literature

In two weeks’ time, the official opening of one of the largest b... >>> read more

Ramsey Nasr

Ramsey Nasr, Dutch poet

Ramsey Nasr (b. 1974, Rotterdam) is a poet and author, actor and direc... >>> read more


Thomas Möhlmann, Staff member Dutch Foundation for Literature

Poetry is all about life

What an evening the poets and the approximately 200 onlookers present had experienced after the Chinese-Dutch poetry programme in the hip Fangjia Hutong! The lower and upper floor of the restaurant/theatre Trainspotting were crammed with an enthusiastic audience (average age estimated at around 25) and those unable to get in made themselves comfortable on the lawn outside, where they could follow on a screen what was going on inside. (And for all those unable at all to be present, the evening could be following via the website of the Chinese co-organiser Sohu (http://cul.sohu.com/), where it was streamed live.)

It’s about what it is to be a human being!

Inside, six poets - accompanied by the hostess Yan Zhongfan and interpreter/chairman Canaan Morse - read in pairs from their work and subsequently sought to enter into conversation with each other and the audience. Between the performances, Chinese versions of Dutch digital poems were displayed that were the result of a cooperation between poets and digital artists, by Jan Baeke and Alfred Marseille, and Rozalie Hirs and Harm van den Dorpel respectively.

The poets Xi Chuan and Bernlef started things off, followed by Yan Jun and Ramsey Nasr and finally by Wang Jiaxin and Anna Enquist. The audience listened with bated breath to the poems, but sprang up after each reading to confront the poets with their own impressions and questions. After the first pair, the questions were initially somewhat cautiously related to technical aspects of the poetry, which caused Bernlef to sigh: ‘We shouldn’t only talk about that sort of thing: poetry is not all about that, it’s about what it is to be a human being!’. His hint was to a certain extent taken up after Yan Jun made use of a megaphone during his performance, and Ramsey Nasr, with the same megaphone in his hand, outlined his own ideas concerning autonomy, asking himself by precisely what ideals the members of the audience allowed themselves to be led. During the performances by Wang Jiaxin and Anna Enquist too, various - and not always exactly cheering - aspects of human existence were gradually brought out, which, after a long and quite animated evening led to the conclusion that ‘life isn’t just about poetry, but poetry is all about life, and it tries to talk about that in a specific and refined way’. And this brought us back to Bernlef, and the conclusion might well sound somewhat general, but the path travelled in the two hours or so in order to reach it was exceptionally instructive and exciting for all those present.

The poetry evening came about as a cooperation between Sohu, BIBF and the Dutch Foundation for Literature.
A number of impressions in images and in Chinese can be found at: http://cul.sohu.com/20110903/n318235804.shtml