Location: Theater Rotterdam - Witte De With - Studio,
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Three poets will read their full festival selection of poems: Maria Stepanova (Russia), Zeyar Lynn (Burma) and Miguel-Manso (Portugal).
A liberal voice in a media landscape that is completely under government control.
As a journalist, publisher, free-press activist and poet, Maria Stepanova is one of the best-known cultural figures in today's Russia. Her independent and crowd-funded online journal, Colta, represents a liberal voice in a media landscape that is otherwise completely under government control. Her most recent collection, Spolia, consists of two long poems, both thematically underpinned by the war currently being waged in eastern Ukraine – a civil war, as Stepanova calls it, pitting Ukrainians against Russians. Not only is the current political situation a subject of Stepanova's work, but to a certain extent it also determines its poetic style, resulting in a tone that is fragmented but powerful.
The act of writing itself, revealed in gestures entirely unexpected in their simplicity and irony.
Poetry and writing poetry are often themselves the subject of Miguel-Manso's work. His ambiguous and complex poems, which are driven by the rhythm and sound of his idiosyncratic word choices, emphasize the beauty and power of language and of poetry. This effect is further enhanced by all manner of references to other writers and works of literature, and because Manso often explicitly mentions and interrogates the act of writing itself. "The poem is above all else / a stage for simple gestures": specifically – gestures which in Manso's case are always special and entirely unexpected in their simplicity and irony.
With its treacherous language, its quotations and many references Zeyar Lynn's poetry makes for an exciting, endless scavenger hunt.
Zeyar Lynn is one of the most important and influential people in contemporary Burmese poetry. In a country with a long history of censorship, and a strong poetic tradition, Zeyar Lynn has been introducing contemporary poetry there since the 1990s, particularly as a translator of American L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets. Studying this poetry has also left a great impression on his own work; he has abandoned Burmese traditions and strict 'Khit Por' (modern poetry) to writes poems without a prescribed meaning. With its treacherous language, its quotations, and its many references (to other poets and writers, but also to international historical and political events), Zeyar Lynn's poetry makes for an exciting, endless scavenger hunt.