Sunday, December 16, 2012

Friday night in Brussels

Rain, wind and darkness, dangerous driving by tired lorries swerving out of their lane and the expected standstill on the roads into Brussels. One of the tunnels into town was closed off because of a European Summit meeting. Yet following the signs for the detours, I ended up in the tunnel and got well in time to the salons of the Liaison Office Brussels-European Union where the reading was to be held. The languages used that evening where: French, English, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish - in the Chilean variety which I love, Dutch, German, Alsatian, Romanian and Greek (both old and new). It was lovely to listen to the former or still active ‘Eurocrats’ who all defended their creative irk against or not withstanding hard work and a no-nonsense atmosphere when at work. The poems were always read first in its original language and then in a translation. Some people also sculpt or paint, or do graphics, make  music. The singer, Hugo Bossut, we were sorry to hear, was ill, some people, seen the chaos on the road didn’t make it. Yet there was a good group of excellent listeners. I had been involved with the Literary circle over 20 years ago and then lapsed. Finding in a publication a poem by Huguette Bastin, who was my contact then, I decided to contact her. Thus I ended  up as the mystery guest at the end of an evening. Huguette did a wonderful job introducing her colleagues, keeping time gently. The way she presented and interviewed me was delightful. She read the Dutch versions of my poems and I read them in my variety of Mid-Atlantic English: too European for Chloride, Arizona, too American for sensitive British ears. People were generous with kind comments and some even bought Traces/Sporen, published by So it turned out to be a happy evening with light refreshments afterwards and conversations with interesting people.
My colleagues that evening were: Danial Guggenbühl, Catherine Koecks and Archie Clarke, Frederique Frahan-Dupont and Bruno Delmotte, Joqé Ponce Vicencio, Andrei-Paul Corescu, Paolo Pego, Fontini, Chiou, Isabelle Bielecki and Huguette Bastin. The second name always is the one having done or reading the translations.

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