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1,000 poets sought for nationwide poetry marathon

24 September to 7 October 2023: a two-week tour of 1000 poets and poetry readers along 13 cities in the Netherlands and Flanders, in the run-up to the 40th Night of Poetry. In the run-up to the 40th Night of Poetry, 1,000 poets will read poems in 13 different places in the Netherlands and Flanders. The poetry marathon '1000 Poets' will take place in... 

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Night of Poetry celebrates 40th edition - Former Poet Laureate Babs Gons joins the Night editorial team

On 7 October, the 40th edition of the Night of Poetry will take place as the conclusion of the ILFU Festival. In the Grote Zaal of TivoliVredenburg, Ester Naomi Perquin and Piet Piryns will present, as always, about twenty poets and a handful of 'entr'actes'. Among the first confirmed poets' names are two veterans who were already there at the first Night in 1980,... 

What I learned from Alida Dors and the Dutch Playwriting Prize

Of the 122 stage texts read by the jury of the Dutch Toneelschrijfprijs, just under 30 were written by female authors. In a field where the number of female workers is huge, this is striking. Because, the jury rightly stated, in written Dutch theatre, the male gaze is still dominant. While the theatre audience percentage-wise more women... 

Monique Hendriks wins NK Poetry Slam 2021

Jury and audience unanimous on new Dutch Poetry Slam champion Monique Hendriks has become Dutch Poetry Slam Champion 2021. After preliminary rounds across the country, eleven poetry slammers faced each other in the final on Friday evening 24 September, during the International Literature Festival Utrecht. Monique Hendriks took on Lucas Kloosterboer in the final battle and captured the national... 

Mahat Arab wins ILFU Storytelling Competition 2021: Out of 723 entries, his spoken word recording 'Part-time fathers' was voted best story

Mahat Arab (born 1996) is the winner of the second edition of ILFU's Storytelling Competition. He won with a spoken word recording titled 'Part-time fathers'. During festival day Exploring Stories, he received the grand prize of five thousand euros, from the hands of ILFU's organisation. More than 700 people participated in the ILFU Stories Competition; 723 stories were entered in five categories. Apart from Mahat... 

Everyone is welcome to the poems of Babs Gons

The busiest year ever in the career of word artist Babs Gons (49) gets its crowning moment with the publication of her first book of poetry, Do it anyway. A debut that, for Gons herself, feels more like a farewell than a beginning. 'For a performer like me, paper as a form is very definitive.' Erosion and sprawl Do it anyway is called 


Insayno was city poet for two days - you involuntarily think of that commercial in which a temp says at his grand farewell party, "It was two fantastic days" - and in doing so probably set a record as the shortest-serving city poet in history, with one city poem to his name ("sister of the capital"). What was the problem?

In the Netherlands, time sings

Of course, it takes Italians to make this poetic statement about the Netherlands, the headline of this article. The old Italian saying refers to the carillon that signals time in public spaces. Typical tradition of the Low Countries. Since the fourteenth century. Nice and practical, of course, because then the whole city knows what time it is. Does everyone hear hits from the... 

Poets with evergreens and hits make a poetry festival. But what about the table talk? #pifr

Alí Calderón has written quite a body of work, but I did not hear much of it during my stay at Poetry International. However, the poem 'Democracia Mexicana' did come along three times. A formidable poem, as it ends with a rotting baby corpse, so not for the soft-hearted among us. Democracia Mexicana is Calderon's hit poem. Like pop singers can make a hit... 

'Fleshy, divinely bawdy at times.' - Buddingh Prize 2018 for Radna Fabias during sizzling Poetry International (#pifr)

Danez Smith is quite something. Or rather two, because the American poet likes to be addressed in the gender-neutral, or rather gender-plural plural form. A form of address not yet very common in Dutch, and thus avoided by everyone. Thursday night, 31 May at the former ro theatre, now Theater Rotterdam - Witte de With, fell around the... 

Podcast: This year, Poetry International explores the role of nationalism in poetry.

Jan Baeke has been associated with Poetry International as a programmer for many years. In this podcast, I talk to him about the programme and the theme of this 49th edition: The Nation of Poetry. It's about nationalism, of course, but also about identity. And about what role poetry plays in that. And then, of course, it's not primarily about folk songs. We... 

Poetry Performance Workshop teaches poets what 'taking a rest' means: 'my next performances will be a lot longer now.'

'There would be a difference between paper poems and poems that only fit into a recitation. I don't think it's a good poem in either case then. A good poem you can read well, and also reread, but it also fits very well in a performance.' Poet Anne van Winkelhof has clear views on what makes poetry good poetry.... 

Carmien Michels, European Poetry Slam champion: 'I hope I can give many people that extra push to go on their own journey of discovery'

The best performers are a few heads taller on stage than in real life. This also applies to Carmien Michels. I knew the writer, performer, slam poet and jack-of-all-trades in cultural life mostly from her legendary performances at the 2016 NK Poetry Slam and the Night of Poetry in September 2017. Radiance and presence, which... 

Research shows: 96% of Dutch people are hopelessly idiotic (of poetry)

We like to be touched, we Dutch. And if we are not touched ourselves, we want to touch others. These are the two main reasons why people seek out poetry. This memorable fact has come to light thanks to research by Utrecht scientist Kila van der Starre. She will soon receive her PhD on a quantitative study into... 

Opening night Poetry International showcases sprightly poetry #PIFR

Perhaps the first words man ever uttered were poems. In any case, man will have sung first, before using words. If we can at least describe the primal sound expressed at the time to indicate that that dove is really yours after all as singing. The fact remains, Poetry International the festival that had a wonderful opening night yesterday, is dedicated to one of the oldest art forms in the world: poetry. But just how sprightly is that art?

'Poetry is always political'. Poetry International explores 'framing'

Is the language of poetry still free from ideology and manipulation? Or is it nonsense to think that poetic language escapes framing, the ideological loading of words? That is the main theme of this year's Poetry International poetry festival, which kicks off on Tuesday 7 June.

Art is not: 'If you're hungry, eat. Measurable result: toilet visit.'

The stupidest question I come across all too often is THE question: what is the tangible result of your projects for audiences? Or more broadly drawn: what can art & culture measurably add to lives? Add that question together with the current clamour for 'utility in art' and I get accutely red pimples from these non-answerable questions. And I... 

'Daphne' on the patio of museum Beelden aan Zee (author's photo)

Everything is temporary, however beautiful - exhibition Iris Le Rütte at Statues by the Sea

Last spring, while looking at Catinka Kersten's newly installed sculpture on the patio of museum Beelden aan Zee, Iris Le Rütte's sculpture Daphne caught my eye. A woman who instead of a head and arms stretched branches to the sky. It is a scene from Ovid's Metamorphoses: the nymph Daphne, on the... 

We will follow the world's writers into their hotel rooms

Writers Unlimited The Dodo is coming back to life. On 19 January already. That's when we plunge into The Hague writer's life. The four-day festival Writers Unlimited, formerly known as Winternachten, but thus changed its name because of the weather (not, but nice joke) will have a real dodo, but then again differently. We will LIVE BLOG. That means we will be there.... 

There is crying, screaming and dancing frenziedly in Helium by Davy Pieters on #debasis

  "You are my sunshine," sings a woman very softly. Meanwhile, the audience sits in pitch darkness. We are trapped. Banished to a shelter that, it seems, suddenly has no exit. It is a real shelter in which theatre-maker Davy Pieters holds her performance Helium. Shelter 313 at Soesterberg Air Base once served as a refuge for personnel. Via... 

Too much humour and not enough shuddering at De Warme Winkel's 'Poets and bandits' at Theatre Festival The International Choice #dekeuze

Snow has fallen, a thick layer of fresh snow. Fake snow admittedly, but real enough to imagine yourself in the middle of Russia. There, in the city of Sverdlovsk, or Yekaterinburg, once lived the man about whom the performance 'Poets and bandits' is about. Boris Ryzhy (1974-2001) turned the raw reality of his hometown into poetry. He left more than a thousand poems to the world. His breakthrough came at the Poetry International festival in Rotterdam, in the year 2000. A year later, he was dead. ...

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