Friday, March 30, 2012

Bart Stouten's Open Heart presented in den Hopsack

 When the producers of the books are part of the presentation then only the preliminary activities can be documented.
Here Fred Schywek carrying in the books...
 A bit of publicity in the window doesn't hurt.
 And hanging the banner of the traveling Poetry Festival this evening is also part of the producer's job.
 Here poet Bart helps carry in the music stand for his friend Jan Evenepoel
 Sound man Erwin at work and the star of the night checking out the finished book he his holding for the first time. He seems  to be smiling like the cat who ate the canary, also his partner Mark seems to enjoy the special night.
 A wonderful guitar player, a choice of music that was just right for the mood of the night and and the audience. I realized how I missed  hearing the soft twang or thud of the gentle touch of a string. Thanks!
 Poet and musician concentrating, going inward... to come out and be totally present when it matters. The program:
3. POETRY READING 2: ATHENS 6 AM - Fred - Bart - HAMA Bart & Annmarie - GEEN VOLLE MANEN MEER (no more full moons) Bart & Fred
MUSIC 3 - Jan EVENEPOEL - Frank DE VOS closes – SUIKERBONEN (Belgian sweets offered when a baby is born -)) Thanks too for a loyal, attentive audience and friends

Now we're on the road again... from E 19 to Route 66...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Muddy roads will be traveling soon but first Bart Stouten's presentation tonight

A feeling of laying in an unmade bed.
Staring at Buddhist sutras
from floor to ceiling
slipping in and out one's consciousness.
Feeling the sutras
keep you alive.
                    The stewardess, a cameo appearance
in dark Chinese whispers, brought coffee,
lukewarm and annoyingly weak with powdered milk
and a glimpse of hauling about her darlings.
Made corny jokes about thick and thin. Her own choice
written on her body. In fluent French.
No idea where it came from. That feeling.
I loved her, briefly, put myself to work
emptied all this thinness.
                    Waiting, with sleep and in-flight magazine,
for better pastimes.
                    It came. High above the gold coast,
which reminded my neighbor of the complicated timing
of coming into the world elsewhere: mom's returning
from a trip to Papua New Guinea, her desire
to birth him in Australia, his first scream
in a Lockheed Hercules en route. And how he
two years ago – his pousse café a fait divers
for Quantas – was gripped by a fear of flying so intense
that he nailed to the floor, watched how the plane left
without him, to yet another continent.
           an unmade bed... staring at
Buddhist sutras...
                    For me no alcohol.
Vascular problem requiring an understanding smile,
so thinks the stewardess.
8 pm: in den Hopsack, Grote Pieter Pot straat, Antwerp, Belgium

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Syrian poet and blogger jailed again - WIPC

The Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International and Pen Flanders fears for the safety of poet and blogger Dia’a Al-Abdullah, who was arrested on 13 February 2012 from his home in Asswaida by the Air Forces secret services after writing an open letter to the Syrian President. Al-Abdullah remains detained incommunicado at an unknown location, and is considered to be at serious risk of torture and ill-treatment. Concerns for his welfare are acute.

According to PEN’s information, Dia’a Al-Abdullah was arrested on 13 February 2012 when security forces raided his house after he published on his Facebook page an open letter entitled As A Syrian Citizen I Announce in which he demanded that the President step down in order to prevent further bloodshed.

Al-Abdullah was previously detained and interrogated for his writing on 29 June 2011. He was held incommunicado until his release on 13 January 2012. After his release, Al-Abdullah reported that he was subjected to severe torture during his detention.

Al-Abdullah was also arrested in 1999 and held for one year without trial or charge after publishing collection of poems.

A sample of his poetry follows, which was written during his previous imprisonment in 2011

The crypt

Violence is
the means of people:

The jailor kills me with a sword
I answer with a word,
and he sets my pages alight

Oh God
I burn the cigarettes of these days
in my cell
My heart is the fifth wall;
I set it alight

Eid is coming
And it will bring
Only bad tobacco to smoke,
so I leave it aside

You promised
my heart would be made only for love;
now I am so enraged
– save me,
cover my heart with tenderness
Make it strong,
Offer him a touch
… a laugh …

The world has passed beneath me
And this place is the most terrible of all
I have begun to embrace
the sun of exhaustion

So, this is my homeland;
I became its enemy
by speaking out

Speaking out brings pain –
but how can we not?

My homeland,
if it were not for you
I would not be so brave,

and so:
they will not break me

My homeland,
I touch your hands
from behind bars

This child is a prisoner now,
and my mother screams:
Will no one bring down this oppressor?

I am strong
I scream
My mother

Translated from the Arabic by Ghias Aljundi , with Mitchell Albert

Anti-government protests were sparked in mid-March 2011 and have since spread across the country. Mass arrests have taken place and security officers have responded to the continuing protests with excessive force, using tear gas and live bullets to disperse demonstrators, and bombarding opposition stronghold areas with mortar bombs and rockets. Thousands of civilians have been killed and many more wounded.  Protestors continue to demand political reform and to call upon President Bashar al-Assad to step down. Syrian authorities continue to suppress these protests with force, often indiscriminately, despite promises to end the violence.

With the internet and media already severely curtailed in recent years, the Syrian authorities have imposed even greater restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly in reaction to recent events. Most foreign reporters and correspondents have been asked to leave the country and access to any independent media is denied. 

Please send a letter inquiring about his wellbeing to  the Syrian Embassy in your country.
Pen Flanders

Monday, March 26, 2012

Roger's Lighthouse Lichthaus

Here Roger Nupie poses with Adriaan in front of the world poetry day's festival poster on the Black Panter Gallery in Antwerp. Of course the title refers to Virginia Woolf just as the Poem The waves.
 On the picture he checks the poster made for him
The Waves

The water watches
and waits. The sea
waves in.

its leaden lure.

The hug
is the fear of
my double devil                       

Without end this wrenching
away from the tide
of my body.
Of course there is also a German translation.

Preparations for a poetry presentation

 After translating, proofreading with the authors and the lay out follows the printing and shipping of the books. Since we presented work of three poets we made little bundles of the three books with colorful, joyous ribbons.
 And yes, poetry for the world for books arriving on Unesco's world poetry day on March 21.
Then the producer/ translator/ poet, founder of world internet books Fred Schywek carries the result of months and months of work to the Gallery De Zwarte Panter. Here Annie Reniers is doing a sound checkwhile host Adriaan checks lights, helps with putting up chairs, provides a table for the books and even came up with a blue money box. The last words of her book Buchstabenlicht - Letters van licht- Letters of light is the title of her book.

the step out of time
brings us back

to the immediacy
of resistance and resurrection

a form appears
of branches of air
magnanimous in meeting

and silence
silence cuts a road

rivers flow out of an Eden 
fires rage through centuries
for an egg of warmth

drawn after no one’s image

in letters of light

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Presentation of Light traces in De zwarte panter: Three books of Poetry

 Three poets who have known each other for a long time decided to present the heir new books together in The black Panter Gallery. It is a magical 15th century chapel where art in all its forms is celebrated. The host is Adriaan Raemdonck, ambassador of cultural life in Antwerp.
Fred reading the German translation of Annie Yet the road to a presentation is a long one. First of all the producer of the books Fred Schywek, poet and responsible for the translation from Dutch into German and Annmarie Sauer, poet and responsible for the translations into English have to feel comfortable in working hand in hand with the poets.The translations are proofread together with the authors and deep discussions arise. 

In Annie Reniers' Buchstabenlicht - Letters van licht - Letters of light it might have been about the philosophical connotation of a word or nod to one or other art theory. With Roger Nupie's Lighthouse - Lichthaus it was about choices in the level of 'naughtiness' and comma's. Traces - Sporen is a bilingual book translated by the author herself.
 One will note that in the translation of the works of others she is loyal, yet in the translations of her own work she makes choices that can lead to quiet a difference between the two languages. Then the lay out, the page numbers... The producers job.
Then a concept is worked out for the presentation and yes, it worked. The audience was warm and listened intently, we had help from friends Unciya and Hakate to man the book stand. friends worked the bar, brought the drinks and Bram Goots and Maya filmed the event. Thanks to all on the international poetry day!!

© sms:foto duisburg/rhein 2012 - picture with Fred by Ken Post

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Job Degenaar-Lucienne Stassaert-Fred Schywek in salon 12b

 Lucienne Stassaert started the evening with an introduction to the poetess Andrée Chedid whose work she has been translating from French into Dutch. The love of nature and landscapes, the positive outlook on life, Caïro and Paris as the two cities with a stream which where her home, all that was a medicine, an antidote in a difficult for Lucienne. The translation is vibrant and alive.

Fred Schywek read from Weisse Mühle to be published in 2 or 3 languages in autumn. His poetry has strong imaginary and plays on language. Love and loving and love lost and longing are the theme in this book.

During the break Goulash soup was served and Rice pudding with apples ( thanks Rose!) Then followed Job Degenaar with a well chosen reading from his latest book Ich bin- I am, read in its three languages: Dutch, German and English. He is a traveler with an eye for detail, finding the beauty in melancholy, seeing the deep and fascinating humanity in others. Job performed several traditional ballads delighting us all. I thank the poetry loving friends who came and shared a warm and intimate evening of beauty in four languages.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Proofreading Ich bin -I am

Poet, producer and translator into German Fred Schywek proofreading with Job Degenaar, president of Writers in Prison Committee The Netherlands. Both combing through the text, catching the extra space between two words, a colon to be removed, explaning the choices, the difference in reception in the other language... and coming to a conclusion together.

A thorough interesting process of cooperative shared responsibility. The solution found contentment is on their faces. From trilingual Ich Bin I am

Riverbank in grey

Maybe girls from Japan are needed here
three in lilac, pink, white, under a parasol of reed
on narrow feet over pale sand

the wind rose, the water rustled
and clouds tumbled through the blue
as if they still had the whole earth to cross

and where in the distance the river dreams away
streamed the gold of Buddha
over the run down hearts

Sunday, March 11, 2012

One year after the quake- The choir of the 10.000

To commemorate the people lost in Japan last year, to struggle through grief and coming out on the side of joy the choir of the 10.000 was brought together to perform the ninth of Beethoven. The message of Schiller text seems to resonate: relearning joy, being ein Held zum ziegen, a hero who overcomes all difficulty. This performance was aired on Arte and was moving. 

Now humans cannot avoid earthquakes or tsunamis but we can avoid nuclear power to make matters worse so:
Stop the Belgian nuclear power plants in Doel-Antwerp and Tihange!!!
On this day, one year after Fukushima we have to spread the word to free the world of nuclear energy and nuclear weapons.
Although the Belgian government had decided on a moratorium for the Doel Plant, Antwerp, the new owners EDF, Electricité de France, are keeping it open. In France there are 58 nuclear plants. President Sarkozy and President Obama each have just given the green light to build new nuclear plants instead of  supporting wind and solar energy or other renewable energy sources. With nuclear energy the only thing durable is the nuclear waste.
Stop Doel and Tihange now. Remember the victims in Japan.
To stay informed about actions for a nuclear free world.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Disgrace-In ongenade J.M.Coetzee

A long time ago I read this book by Coetzee. Josse De Pauw adapted the novel for the stage and his feat is that he maintained the storyline, the male/female divide, abusive sexuality, the darkest side of our soul and even the glimmer of hope of the new South Africa. The play takes us past stereotypes and shows us more darkness of the soul, moral dilemma's we can't quiete work out than we would care to acknowledge as existent in our own soul "My head became an asylum for the old thoughts which have no other place to go" says David Lurie. It is an international cooperation that brought about this play in the form we see it. The director is Luk Perceval working as a guest director with Toneelgroep Amsterdam. I was impressed by Katrin Brack one of Germany's most renowned stage designers. Hence the picture I am showing which is what you see upon entering to take your seat. The concept is used well. Walking home I heard other theatergoers comment: It is not a play that makes one happy. And: A lot of food for thought. Right: all art is quite useless but for stimulating thought and questioning. Well, I'll remain a fan of Coetzee, even with the harsh truths about our fallible humanity or because of it, to say nothing about his superior writing. Should I mention that one of the best actors was present, some writers, the beau monde and some half gods... It was a memorable evening.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Traces Sporen

Traces as poetry, encounters, landscapes, sudden insights, as loss and loving again, as longing. In this book language explores fragmented places of belonging. 
Annmarie Sauer is a poetess of few words, limiting herself to the essence; what she writes is intense and felt deeply. Without frills and sure she paints with words. For her no parlando, and certainly no baroque. Nowhere does she make concessions to language. She is engaged and empathic and catches, seemingly effortless all movements and fluctuations of moods and confides them to paper in English and Dutch.
Rose Vandewalle
 The presentation is March 23rd, 8PM: De Zwarte Panter, Hoogstraat 76, Antwerp, together with Roger Nupie and Annie Reniers 

All is given
by water & wind
ice & fire
now till in the greyest hour
always all is in its place
perfect unruliness
predestined in
the movement of time

just as I
Alles is gegeven
door water & wind
ijs & vuur
nu tot in het grijste uur
altijd alles op zijn plaats
volmaakte ongeregeldheid
voorbeschikt in
de beweging van de tijd           

net als ik

Traces/Sporen, world internet books, publisher Fred Schywek

Friday, March 2, 2012

Lighthouse and Traces have arrived

Two books for the presentation on March 23rd in De Zwarte Panter in Antwerp (8 PM) have arrived Roger Nupie's Lighthouse* Lichthaus was the first to come out of the crate. The title of the book refers to the novel of Virginia Woolf, just as the moving poem The waves. His poetry presented here is solemn, speaking of missing and longing. In the cycle  Her handwriting he remembers his grandmother kindly with the deep love of  grandson. Roger Nupie questions conventions in Self portrait, is playful and explicitly erotic in several poems, a.o. in Olivette. Yet he also challenges conventions in his self-portrait, no longer fulfilling the romantic image of a poet, but also in two poems about war and its consequences. The German translation is by Fred Schywek and the English by Annmarie Sauer. The translations are always proofread with the authors who authorize  them.

To the lighthouse                                                Zum Leuchtturm

De liefde                                                               Die Liebe
verliest                                                                 verliert
haar getijden.                                                      ihre Gezeiten.

Dat wegebben blijft                                             Das Wegebben bleibt
ons bij, versteend                                                uns erhalten, versteinert
op de oever.                                                          auf dem Ufer.

Nooit                                                                      Nie
halen we                                                                holen wir
morgen.                                                                 das Morgen.


its tides.

This ebbing away stays
with us petrified
on the shore.

will we make it
to tomorrow.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Poetry as Insurgent Art

Follows an extract from a message from Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO: On this World Poetry Day 2010, let us recall that poetry is a universal country in which peoples may meet through words of all colors, rhythms and musicality. Words that, regardless of the language from which they blossomed, reach out far for a light that captures the very essence of the human being, the dignity of each person. UNESCO, committed to its mandate to fully promote the democratic principles of dignity, equality and mutual respect perceives poetry as a vital resource.
Yes poetry is alive and kicking but nit really thanks to Unesco, but thanks to the pets writing, reading, performing, small publisher spreading the words of poets, the translators who build bridges, further understanding. That is why from one day we organize a poetry festival starting March 17 in salon 12b with Job Degenaar and his book ICH BIN * I AM. Assisting poets will also have time to read and share their work. The activity o the actual poetry day is still being organized. Then the second event is on March 23 three poets, diverse in their way of writing will present each a book in Gallery The Black Panter in Antwerp: Annie Reniers with a trilingual book (Dutch, German and English): Letters of Light. Her reading is followed by Roger Nupie with  the also trilingual book. The last pet is Annmarie Sauer with a bi-lingual book Traces/Sporen. March 29 in the literary café den Hopsack in Antwerp it will be the Bart Stouten party with the trilingual book Open Heart. All books produced by poet Fred Schywek. April is poetry month in USA, so while being there we'll have a Desert Poetry Night with guest from San Francisco. We do all this to give a voice to more poets, to let people hear diverse forms of writing. Yet also because the Unesco system is rather cumbersome to work with as independent artists and to claim poetry as an insurgent art:

Poetry as Insurgent Art  Lawrence Ferlinghetti
I am signaling you through the flames.
The North Pole is not where it used to be.
Manifest Destiny is no longer manifest.
Civilization self-destructs.
Nemesis is knocking at the door.
What are poets for, in such an age?
What is the use of poetry?
The state of the world calls out for poetry to save it.
If you would be a poet, create works capable of answering the challenge of apocalyptic times, even if this meaning sounds apocalyptic.
You are Whitman, you are Poe, you are Mark Twain, you are Emily Dickinson and Edna St. Vincent Millay, you are Neruda and Mayakovsky and Pasolini, you are an American or a non-American, you can conquer the conquerors with words....