Location: Trompenburg Gardens & Arboretum, Rotterdam
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What could be more beautiful than spending a sunny Sunday in the idyllic Trompenburg gardens and arboretum in Rotterdam Kralingen? Amidst the rustling leaves at this gorgeously poetic location, you’ll be able to enjoy the poetry of Dolores Dorantes from Mexico, Marie de Quatrebarbes from France, and Joost Baars and Nachoem M. Wijnberg from the Netherlands. Not to mention the delicious coffee, tea and cake! There’s no better way to ring out the 49th Poetry International Festival.
Trompenburg Tuinen en Arboretum
Honingerdijk 86, 3062 NX Rotterdam
The voices of women take centre stage in her work, forever myriad and equivocal.
Though Dolores Dorantes was scheduled to appear at the festival in 2012, death threats resulting from her journalistic work forced her to relocate to the US, which she was then not allowed to leave while applying for asylum. This year, she will be able to make it, living and working in Rotterdam for six weeks as a poet in residence. Dorantes' poetry constructs and deconstructs, remembers and forgets, putting into words the cruelty, pain and violence of the country she fled, yet also challenging those words. Still often suppressed in today's world, the voices of women take centre stage in her work, forever myriad and equivocal. Topical and political issues are always subtly present, too. Not only a poet, Dorantes also works as a journalist, a writing instructor, and a teacher in the Mahajrya Buddhist tradition.
"If you can read a newspaper article, you can read my poetry."
With seventeen collections to his name, Nachoem M. Wijnberg is undoubtedly one of the most prolific Dutch poets. Though he might have a reputation as a 'difficult' poet, he disputes this: "If you can read a newspaper article, you can read my poetry." And although his poetry indeed is often simple and accessible, Wijnberg, who is also a professor of Cultural Entrepreneurship and Management, often tackles large and complex themes. His monumental collection Van groot belang (2015), for instance, references economic and political theories to address key issues in contemporary society. For his entire poetic oeuvre, Wijnberg was awarded the prestigious P.C. Hooft Prize in 2017.
Snippets, fragments, instances of memory; it is never entirely clear who or what is speaking.
Marie de Quatrebarbes' utterly idiosyncratic poetry disorients and surprises, nestling itself in your mind. Her poems are made up of long lines of prose, though a narrative through-line is often lacking or present only below the surface. Her poetry exists of snippets, for instance of memories of a solitary childhood or a turbulent relationship; but with continuous changes in perspective, and fragmented, often suddenly cut-off sentences, it is never entirely clear who or what is speaking. This is exactly how she gives sound, humour and wordplay free rein, enabling a single sentence to resonate profoundly.
Starting a conversation with the yard below his balcony, yet at the same time speaking to something more divine.
Nominated for the C. Buddingh' Prize and awarded the VSB Poetry Prize, Joost Baars' Binnenplaats made for a hugely successful and long-awaited debut in the world of poetry, where for years Baars has been working as a programmer and editor, appearing at events and in literary publications. In his first collection, Baars starts a conversation with the courtyard below his balcony, yet at the same time he also seems to be speaking to something more divine. He does this in a language that is precise and always deliberate. By searching his familiar, direct surroundings for something that supersedes reality, Baars manages to connect the everyday with the transcendental.