Wednesday, July 2, 2014

VERS 1984-2014

A friend and colleague Karel Sergen launched this fun and serious project. Bar Van Loo had sugested to find one's own audience for an original selection of thirty years of poetry. So Karel mailed out an extended overview of his work and asked his friends poets to choose one poem and write a short commentary like one would send a tweet. The publisher P Leo Peeraer of 'Uitgevery P' accepted the challenge to publish this book, and unbeknown to all the poets who send in their favorite poem they were considered co-authors of the book and received it as a gift. The celebration of this project was the reason we drove with four people from Antwerp to Saint Remy-Geest, the beautiful village just over the language border. I was again impressed by the place. I was even more impressed by the careful preparation of the program for the day. Karel is form the Dutch peaking part of Belgium and lives in the French speaking part since quite a while. I was impressed that the local dignitaries were bilingual. The authors speaking and reading were bilingual too and so is the book. Bernard De Coen, in close collaboration with Karel made a great and wonderful translation into French.

Everything breathes beauty and caring and even a deluge couldn't stop the festivities. In three different spots the poets who had chosen their 'favorite' read it for the audience. Everybody had a great time. I felt hopeful because of the inclusiveness of the whole day. On the picture right you see Karel (left) and Bart (right). French and Dutch, Japanese and English, all together. Hilde Keteleer is reading and I must thank her for letting me use her pictures. I love the attention to detail, the edible flowers, the great people there and the beautiful together of poetry and language.Even old chairs became poetic objects with a haiku.

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