Saturday, August 27, 2016

Liefde in België/ Love in Belgium/ Liebe in Belgiën

Each of the poets sent in three poems. Each poem was then translated into German by German poet Fred Schywek. Fred has translated many Dutch-writing poets into German. Some poems speak about loss, others about lust. Some write short poems, followed by a long one. Anything goes, since all the participants are real poets. Of course life goes on while doing all this. One is moving house. Another has a bad cold or a deadline for something else. But the poems got written. On Sunday night we will read all the poems to each other. Of course with a drink and a bite...
This years Buchmesse in Frankfurt has as special guests The Netherlands and Flanders from 19. - 23. October 2016. It is within this framework that the book will appear beginning of October  when the Buchmesse is on.  

Participants: Joke van Leeuwen * Annmarie Sauer * Rose Vandewalle * Annie Reniers *Maud Vanhauwaert * Lies van Gasse * Annemarie Estor 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Family matters - Familymatters

The first time I met my father and my brother was after a year of interpreting for the meetings of ESSO, having saved each payment for the trip. We had flown in to Washington and the trip to Dayton was silent and long, driving through cornfields mile after mile to get to Dayton. It could have been a wild goose chase not having found a phone number from Belgium for my father. After we settled down in the local Holiday Inn I picked up the phone book. There were a bunch of Sauers... I knew my father was John A. Sauer and found the number. So I called and a young male voice answers the phone. I said: My name is Annmarie Sauer, I am looking for a relative of mine. He, Mark said I pass you my father. A nice voice comes on the phone. I repeat what I just told Mark and the Male voice at the other end answers: Yes, you are my daughter. I hadn't thought further than that. So I said I would like to meet you. So he gives me instruction to come to his work, He was a blue collar worker in a print factory. Jim and I and Maya showed up and had a nice meeting. He apologized for my English (which must have sounded too European or British) saying: She lost her accent... The young man, Mark had come too, and I thought: Oh, my little brother is Gay. I cherish that meeting. Years later when I was in Chloride, he called me and came out to me. So sweet... . We corresponded a while but now it is time to be closer again, seen there is another brother... I guess one way or the other we should all meet. Because no longer am I an only child, who has an only child... Although seen I didn't know anything about the child Tom, my brother I felt like an only child. So I am the oldest of the three of us.

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.