Poetry International Poetry International
52e Poetry International Festival Rotterdam

Short reading: Four poets

Date
Su June 12
17:00 - 18:00
Location
LantarenVenster 1
Short reading: Four poets

Short reading: Four poets

Nils Chr. Moe-Repstad, Takako Arai, Gonca Özmen & Cornelia Hülmbauer

 

Celebrated Japanese poet Takako Arai replied to our invitation to Rotterdam with a poem about her frequent trips to small villages, where she sits on a bench and listens to the voices of old ladies. Everything is poetry to Arai. Her poems are playful, avant-garde and vibrant. They track sounds to their source, express how sounds are made in the body and give them names. In the enthralling anthology Factory Girls (2020) rhythmic, narrative poems reveal the harsh hidden world of women who work in the declining silk industry, bringing their emotional world to life and placing them in surreal situations: “Ghosts, people, factories, and creatures blow through each other like smoke rings (…) so vivid and vermicular, they all but crawl under the reader’s skin.” (Japan Times)

Gonca Özmen is one of the best-known and most remarkable female Turkish poets of her generation. Her poems are playful, rhythmic and original, with language that both reflects and breaches tradition, sometimes in t...

More

 

Celebrated Japanese poet Takako Arai replied to our invitation to Rotterdam with a poem about her frequent trips to small villages, where she sits on a bench and listens to the voices of old ladies. Everything is poetry to Arai. Her poems are playful, avant-garde and vibrant. They track sounds to their source, express how sounds are made in the body and give them names. In the enthralling anthology Factory Girls (2020) rhythmic, narrative poems reveal the harsh hidden world of women who work in the declining silk industry, bringing their emotional world to life and placing them in surreal situations: “Ghosts, people, factories, and creatures blow through each other like smoke rings (…) so vivid and vermicular, they all but crawl under the reader’s skin.” (Japan Times)

Gonca Özmen is one of the best-known and most remarkable female Turkish poets of her generation. Her poems are playful, rhythmic and original, with language that both reflects and breaches tradition, sometimes in the same sentence. Love is never far away, though she seldom elucidates it in an unambiguous or lyrical way. She allows expectations and desires to clash with all the mistakes, fantasies and untruths that are often associated with love, generally adopting a critical feminist perspective. What Özmen shows above all is how complex and unfathomable the relationships between people can be; all the expectations and assumptions, leading almost inevitably to misunderstandings. Her work also reflects ingrained patterns and attitudes, particularly those of the male gaze on women. Physicality, vulnerability and the values surrounding the female body, play a major role in Özmen’s work: “My body is a gun made of sorrow / aimed at you".

Cornelia Hülmbauer writes poetry, short prose and radio plays. Her poems are emotionally charged, with sentences that seek the precise words to express something intangible, and generally ominous. Searching language, simple, featuring dialect and references to folk songs and counting rhymes; her sentences appear mainly to show how difficult it is to say things accurately. This is a serious task when it comes to the gulf between remembering and forgetting, or the harm people do to each other. Often, an ‘I’ will address a ‘you’ in a conversation that hints at wider engagement, like the imbalance in male-female relations. A fine example of this is the series Zyklus V, which is above all about the female body in the social space, and about the female voice in our society. Poems are often set in families, a context that is comforting, but is also infected by secrets and domestic violence. Threat combined with cool humour make for work that is multi-layered and full of surprises.

Having delighted us with his impressive performances at the Poetry International Festival in 2015, Norwegian poet Nils Christian Moe-Repstad will be joining us in Rotterdam again this year.  His poetry seems all-encompassing, like an encyclopaedia, or the whole of Wikipedia. Yet all the entries appear to have been shuffled, creating unusual but fascinating connections. The body plays a key role in his work. In his reflections on reality, from the microscopically small to the cosmically huge, the body is always the point from which he directs his gaze, and to which thoughts and ideas are tied. It seems only logical that the body should play such a key role in Moe-Repstad’s work, if we consider the fact that he broke his neck in a diving accident at the age of 19. While this personal disaster could only be sensed somewhere in the background in previous books, like 19 forgiftninger ('19 Poisonings'), in Wunderkammer, published in 2016, he bluntly and frankly highlights the paralysing consequences of his accident, with no bitterness and no reservations: ‘the world is unmoving and I move it with my head, like a footballer.’

Pricing

For this program you need a day ticket for Saturday 11 June or a festival passe-partout
Day ticket: 10 to 25 euro’s
Passe-partout (three days): 25 – 50 euro’s
Discounts for CJP, Student card, Rotterdampas

Language and duration

Poets will read their work in their own language. Translations in English and Dutch will be presented simultaneously through projections. 

Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère