Terugblik: avondprogramma Poetry International 31-5-2018

Christian Bök, Danez Smith, Ida Börjel.

Three poets read their full festival selection of poems: Christian Bök (Canada), Ida Börjel (Sweden) and Danez Smith (USA).

 

For over ten years, Bök has been attempting a ‘living poetry’ by implanting a coded poem into living bacteria. The ultimate goal? The bacteria writing a poem back. Christian Bök has dedicated his life to poetic experiments which, in their sheer length and scope, have almost taken on the form of quests. He gained recognition with Eunoia (2001), a book he worked on for seven years. Each of Eunoia‘s chapters is dedicated to a single vowel, with no other vowels allowed therein. The Xenotext, his current project, is even more ambitious. For over ten years, Bök has been attempting a ‘living poetry’ by implanting a coded poem into living bacteria. The ultimate goal? The bacteria writing a poem back. In Bök’s work science becomes poetry, and poetry a science.

Granting a poetic voice to the maligned conscience of the (political) world, with its streams of refugees, abuses of power, and environmental crises.
Ida Börjel is one of the most striking voices in contemporary conceptual poetry. Each of her much-praised and awarded collections forms a cohesively and rigorously composed whole that is always rooted in extensive research and a strong thematic principle. Her collection Miximum Ca’Canny: the Sabotage Manuals(2016) appears to be both a practical handbook and a philosophical study of the various ways the language of power and authority can be sabotaged, a recurring theme in Börjel’s poetry. Her best-known work, Ma (2014), responds to Inger Christensen’s iconic Alphabet and gives a poetic voice to the maligned conscience of the (political) world, with its streams of refugees, abuses of power, and environmental crises.

A poet whom everyone should not only read, but also hear and see.
Convincing, powerful and funny, Danez Smith’s poetry speaks to the experience of being a black, queer and poz body in today’s America. Always personal, while at the same time political and topical, Smith’s work tackles racism, identity, inequality and sexuality. Smith’s experience in the spoken-word and slam-poetry scenes ensures that their poetry comes alive on both page and stage, and their persuasive performances often go viral online. A poet who everyone should not only read, but also hear and see.