Three poets will read their full festival selection of poems: Aurélia Lassaque (France), Nachoem M. Wijnberg (The Nederlands) and Nora Gomringer (Germany).
A nameless ‘She’ gains a voice in the rewriting of a canonical story. Aurélia Lassaque works in two languages, writing her poetry in contemporary French, but also in Occitan, a language that only survives in just a few small areas. This bilingualism is what lends her work a certain duality, further sharpened by the themes she addresses. This is also apparent in her most recent collection, En quête d’un visage (2017), in which Lassaque creates a dialogue between Odysseus and ‘She’. Although nameless, ‘She’ does gain a voice as Lassaque raises her from oblivion, thus rewriting a canonical story from a woman’s perspective in her very own way.Her unique style and love of combining art forms have made her one of the best-known poets in Germany.
Though only 38, Nora Gomringer has already built up an impressive oeuvre. Her poems are eclectic and refreshing, using repetition to great effect, but also constructions that are deceptive in their simplicity (“I kiss you/ Kiss me too”). Yet often lurking deeper in the text are heavier themes, such as illness or the Holocaust. And in some poems these themes are even inescapable. Such poems are explicit and visual, such as ‘The Girls in Bergen-Belsen’. Gomringer loves the stage, and it shows in her work, too. Her unique style and love of combining art forms have made her one of the best-known poets in Germany.
“If you can read a newspaper article, you can read my poetry.”
With seventeen collections to his name, Nachoem M. Wijnberg is undoubtedly one of the most prolific Dutch poets. Though he might have a reputation as a ‘difficult’ poet, he disputes this: “If you can read a newspaper article, you can read my poetry.” And although his poetry indeed is often simple and accessible, Wijnberg, who is also a professor of Cultural Entrepreneurship and Management, often tackles large and complex themes. His monumental collection Van groot belang (2015), for instance, references economic and political theories to address key issues in contemporary society. For his entire poetic oeuvre, Wijnberg was awarded the prestigious P.C. Hooft Prize in 2017.