Monday, 1 November 2010

Dutch Poets and MIPN 2010

Menno Wigman, Dutch poet
I was very fortunate to meet, and read with, several excellent poets from the Netherlands, at the Maastricht International Poetry Nights 2010 (MIPN), October 28-30 - as well run, lively, and serious a poetry event (or series of events) as I have ever participated in - and surely the most supportive.  I read with, among others, Breyten Bretenbach, Ilya Kaminsky, and Pura Lopez Colome.  The nights generate a sense of community, and well-being, and interchange, with the truly international poets that are summoned to the delightful old-world town of Maastricht, that small Southern narrow bit of Holland that is predominantly Catholic and has been in disputed territory for many of its centuries.

For me, the biggest treat was getting to meet leading Dutch poets, including Menno Wigman, Willem van Toorn, Mark Boog, and Maria Barnas.  Wigman, a true dandy, delighted me when he cut his pocket kerchief in half over dinner Saturday with large scissors, as if a magic trick, so that his dark svelte girlfriend could, like a magician's assistant, insert it carefully, Mad Men style, into the bare pocket of my own dark suit.  Dutch poetry is having a renaissance of late, as indicated in this late 2010 article in Jacket.
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