Thursday, June 30, 2016

Inspector Schimanski is no more...

Götz George (23 July 1938 - 19 June 2016) son of the actor couple Berta Drews and Heinrich George. He was the german actor chosen to perform the role of the Duisburg detective Horst Schimanski for the TV crime series Tatort. He has performed many other characters as well... This detective was very fysical, smart, sometimes kind to the perpetrators, knowing how hard their life is. He starred in plays plays and his debut was in 1950 in a play by . He perfected is acting between 1958 and 1963. He personified Martin Luther, was the lead in Büchner's Danton's Death, which he considered to be his best role. William Saroyan's My Heart's in the Highlands. He also co-staged-managed .Gogol's The Government Inspector

He received the crucial part of his acting education between 1958 and 1963. Following his mother's advice he occasionally played at the Deutsches Theater in Göttingen under the direction of Heinz Hilpert. After Hilpert's death, George would never join a fixed theater company again. Hansgünther Heyme signed him in 1972 to the Kölner Schauspielhaus, where George played Martin Luther in Dieter Forte's Martin Luther und Thomas Münzer. His most important stage achievement, in his own opinion, was the lead role in  during the Salzburg Festival in 1981. In 1986 and 1987 George, together with Eberhard Feik and Helmut Stauss, stage-managed. Performing in Anton Chekhov's Platonov, George went on his hitherto last theater tour. He also was in some films among other one with Romy Schneider. 

He has given me many great Sunday evening delights, seeing his rough and tumble character, with a soft side doing what he did. In Ruhrort there is a Schimanski Gasse. Next time I am there I will lay down a flower for him.

Friday, June 24, 2016


I feel strangely lonely after the British people voted to leave the European Union. I listened to the radio all night. It has always been the UKIP and thus Nigel Farage, a demagogue who never liked the union and had a seat in the European Parliament together with the extreme right, with a racist and nationalist ideology.
I started to work for the European Parliament as a very young freelance interpreter and after passing the competition I became a staff member. I was really happy with the first enlargement when Britain joined the original six countries the so called BENELUX (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg,) Germany, Italy and France was the first enlargement and to me it just felt right. Now there were till yesterday 28 countries. 27 thus of today.
A lot of energy will be siphoned off to regulate how this exit will be organized. Time that could be better used for the other major subjects like climate change, the refugees and how to deal humanely and compassionately with them. It is a bitter situation which can be dealt with better with the European Union. Maybe this represents also an opportunity to strengthen the European Union. However there are similar Eurosceptic parties in the different member states. Article 50 should be applied since this article states how to disentangle one nation from the Union.
The British pound is floundering... The financial markets are in turmoil. And Nigel Farage is still stirring the pot hoping that the Dutch and other countries will also organize a vote to leave. However with all it's difficulties the European Union still is a great project. The expat community from Britain is not feeling very good right now. An interesting fact: The young people between 18 and 25 voted to stay it and London too is not like the rest of the still United Kingdom.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Poetry reading in the Ruhrort Artgallery

 Fred Schywek is a good organizer, he has taste in music and is an interesting poet. He also loves music and this is how he works with musicians. These musicians are great. I always feel carried by their music. They seem to feel the mood of each of my poems. Fred also read his Hollywood poetry. In each of the images accompanying the poems one sees the grime and dirt of Hollywood. He doesn't prettify reality. But with a sensitive touch clarifies the facts of life on Hollywood Boulevard. Meat for sale, sleeping rough, begging for food, impersonating a star for a quarter or a dime...
Scientology and it's consequences and yes some of the boardwalk stars... Oh yes I read poetry by Sherman Alexie and by Robert Hershon translated for the occasion in German. The crowd enjoyed it all. Listened attentively and commented at the end. Another great reading. Claus the guitar on the left hand in the picture also read. I look forward to the next occasion. Fred had also made some slide shows and some shorts movies. A very varied menu to pick from. It was a great reading, right there on the river Rhine.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Eaves dropping in a local café while having lunch with Lucy

I live in Antwerp, near or even in part of the Jewish quarter. I thought I give this post a funny title because what I overheard was everything but funny. Two holocaust survivors spoke about their life and what they had done with the experience. The old lady kept a diary most of her life and she became a sculptor. The old man on the other hand plays the violin and lectures all over the world about what the holocaust meant and means, without forgetting the genocides of today. The dystopian wars in Europe of the last century still carry over the consequences for whom lived through that ordeal.
The old lady writes in her diary every morning and every evening and she wonders why she does it, because her writing may never be read, wondering whether writing makes sence. So writing diaries/or blogs myself I do believe that it is important to try and make sense of the world, to keep track of feeling and thoughts day after day, making sense of our personal issues as a rite of passage in this life.

Thus I note the arrival of Hanging Loose Press copies and look proudly at the stack of wonderful books and the poems, beauty and thoughts they contain,while I am shy, kind of self-conscious, about sending some of my poetry books to Hanging Loose Press.
Yet all of you who write, just go on doing what you do. You never know what words will sink into a person's soul and bring understanding, solace and courage to live a full life doing what one has to do.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Pitch of Poetry by Charles Bernstein

I love poetry, so I had to get the book. I started reading and although my english is really good, I couldn't quiet follow the reasoning of the author. The concepts were too strange, too far away from what I knew. But I finished the book, underlining large portions and after a day of rest I started rereading the book. And yes I am understanding more. I mark new thoughts. And I fell for the concepts about plagiarism, working on the basis of an older text, a preexisting text and taking away thoughts, words, and stealing from the source text... Charles Bernstein edited during 4 years with Bruce Andrews the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E magazine.
The main slant is on making meaning, not taking for granted anything from vocabulary to process, program, nor subject matter. The poetry of the magazine was in stark contrast to the poetry of the time. It included critical writing by the poets of the magazine. Some names of poets I knew because I have participated in the MODPO course by Al Filreis twice, fascinated as I was by it and will follow it again... I learned that process, mood and inconsistency is more important than stylistic uniformity. The book also addresses translation and it problematic aspects. I have translated quite a lot from English to Dutch, from Dutch to English (not as much).
It is clear from the text that the civil right's movement had a deep impact. I was also happy to find a reference to George Lakoff and his theory of frames and reframing and oppositional poetry. I know language is not neutral...
If you're interested in poetry and the politics, the evolving views the do read this book.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Goldfish and Rose by Robert Hershon

Never did I receive a poetry book by a friend with such a dedication, so sweet and funny that I should not repeat it in public! Thank you for that Robert.
I am the proud owner of Calls from the outside world and The German Lunatic. All books by Hanging Loose Press. He is also, and has been co-editor since 1966 of the wonderful magazine by that name of which I have a small collection. Robert has always been a lover of films, a passion which engendered Freeze Frame by PRESSED WAFER. I particularly like "1948": Saturdays describing how he and his sister would always find a dollar on the dresser so they could go and watch a movie. It is quite an overview honoring some actors I am not familiar with, but also some names I know, having seen their movies. His latest book is Goldfish and Rose, again with an iconic cover. He is wise and funny. Some poems deal with art: among others the title poem Goldfish and Rose. Also Sidney says (do this): who the hell needs poems (just as my stepfather feels). There is also gentle reflection about aging: Will his readers know the names of baseball players he mentions? Does he need to provide footnotes? Identifying parentheses? I also love the Poems Frame of reference I and particularly II about D-day: Well I know about D-day. My father, an American soldier, survived that day...  and I am a consequence of it. It is a book following the stream of life and happenings in New York, a book with kindness and humor and here and there a touch of melancholy. Thank you Robert. Stay well.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


It is great to get a book like this as a present: new writing from Africa South of the Sahara. The writing is very diverse notwithstanding that certain themes are touched upon more often than others. Hunger, the struggle for survival, violence, lust and sex it is all present in this very well chosen overview of new writings. Yet also the beginning of the Nigerian civil war is dealt with and the complicated relationships or enmities between the different tribes: Hausas are targeting Igbos but the protagonist  of one of the stories has a Yoruba father...
Quote: It wasn't Lagos she longed for, the splendour, the sensational, the sense of being wealthy - but the sense of self surrendered to the senselessness of history, the narrowness and naïvety of her former individuality...
Extract from TAIYE SELASI : from Ghana must go.
A few concepts from the same story: Olu : all is quiet. Taiwo : the tension, a light tugging sensation. But no sense of danger, no cause for alarm. Kehinde : the absence and Sadie : fluttering butterflies, a new thing this restlessness, this looking for something, not finding it.
Of course by quoting only one of the authors I don't do the book justice. Read it, you find yourself all over the world and you will have a lot of food for thought...