Skip to content

This evening of poets by Tsead Bruinja offers prospect of a better future

Babeth Fonchi Fothchind. Remember that name, because she's going to be big, if she wasn't already, but out of my sight. Can happen, with all the bubbles and tick marks we make our way through life. In June 2022, her debut collection out, and then you can read it for yourself. I saw her on a Tuesday night during Book Week at Amsterdam's Perdu and she made a deep impression.

We owe the meeting with Babeth to former Poet Laureate Tsead Bruinja. He presented a new collection in Perdu and, in his own words, he can only do that if he turns it into a literary evening where others perform their own work. Quite a generous man, that Bruinja, because at most book presentations it is only about the collection to be presented. Friends and colleagues drop by to praise the author and develop their own network over white wine. Which in turn led to their generosity, as everyone stepped up for two consumption vouchers. Don't let the Authors' Association hear it.


Incidentally, Bruinja also did it during the evening to tout his new project. He is currently touring Frisian churches and barns with Arnold de Boer, aka ZEA. De Boer is guitarist and singer of The Ex, and the nice thing about his music is that he treats an acoustic guitar in all the ways you shouldn't do with an acoustic guitar. It delivers exciting music and singing on, and during this evening ZEA also paved the way for by far the most extraordinary musical phenomenon I saw in years: Willie Darktrousers.

This man from Donkerbroek has a thing for vowels. There is a guitar, and there are lyrics, but he turns each vowel into a combination of primal screams, Mongolian overtones and Albanian songbirds. This is beyond weird, and so it works on the chuckles. But then the good laughs, because the seriousness with which he works makes you listen more closely to why these heart cries sound anyway. And that's in the lyrics. It is refreshingly unsettling, and that is welcome on this festive literary evening, which at first threatened to get bogged down in the solemn church rhetoric that many less gifted stage poets tend to fall into.


So the build-up was beautiful, from the fine cabaretesque recitation From Joost Oomen to the special appearance of Jerry King Luther Afriye, who on this, Frisian-determined evening, was able to look back with some irony at his first encounter with the people for whom the word 'block' stood at that time. On this evening, still attended by predominantly white and not very squeaky-clean audiences, that was a point of hope for someday a more colourful book week.

A word about Babeth. She is a lawyer and works at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, so being a (performing) poet is not at all strange. Indeed: in earlier centuries, theatre talent and poetry practice was compulsory for lawyers. If this were more widely accepted again, Dutch culture would regain appreciation in our jurist-dominated society.

So let her be an example. Will we all benefit.

Appreciate this article!

Happy with this story? Show your appreciation with a small contribution! That's how you help keep independent cultural journalism alive. (If you don't see a button below, use this link: donation!)

Donate smoothly

Why donate?

We are convinced that good investigative journalism and expert background information are essential for a healthy cultural sector. There is not always space and time for that. Culture Press does want to provide that space and time, and keep it accessible to everyone for FREE! Whether you are rich, or poor. Thanks to donations From readers like you, we can continue to exist. This is how Culture Press has existed since 2009!

You can also become a member, then turn your one-off donation into lasting support!


Wijbrand Schaap

Cultural journalist since 1996. Worked as theatre critic, columnist and reporter for Algemeen Dagblad, Utrechts Nieuwsblad, Rotterdams Dagblad, Parool and regional newspapers through Associated Press Services. Interviews for TheaterMaker, Theatererkrant Magazine, Ons Erfdeel, Boekman. Podcast maker, likes to experiment with new media. Culture Press is called the brainchild I gave birth to in 2009. Life partner of Suzanne Brink roommate of Edje, Fonzie and Rufus. Search and find me on Mastodon.View Author posts

Private Membership (month)
5 / Maand
For natural persons and self-employed persons.
No annoying banners
A special newsletter
Own mastodon account
Access to our archives
Small Membership (month)
18 / Maand
For cultural institutions with a turnover/subsidy of less than €250,000 per year
No annoying banners
A premium newsletter
All our podcasts
Your own Mastodon account
Access to archives
Posting press releases yourself
Extra attention in news coverage
Large Membership (month)
36 / Maand
For cultural institutions with a turnover/subsidy of more than €250,000 per year.
No annoying banners
A special newsletter
Your own Mastodon account
Access to archives
Share press releases with our audience
Extra attention in news coverage
Premium Newsletter (substack)
5 trial subscriptions
All our podcasts

Payments are made via iDeal, Paypal, Credit Card, Bancontact or Direct Debit. If you prefer to pay manually, based on an invoice in advance, we charge a 10€ administration fee

*Only for annual membership or after 12 monthly payments

en_GBEnglish (UK)