Poets on Call
Because poetry has the power to move and connect us, the non-profit association Verb(l)ind launched ‘Poets on Call’ in the midst of the lockdown as a kind of helpline for poetry lovers. During the Passa Porta Festival, Verb(l)ind and Poëziecentrum/Versopolis will repeat this initiative in collaboration with Passa Porta. Call the the toll-free number 0800 11 233 and we will put you through to one of our ‘poets on call’ in the language of your choice.
A huge success
The idea behind ‘Poets on Call’ is simple: people call a toll-free number and are connected to a poet via a selection menu. They can then have a conversation and hear a poem, maybe two. The project was a resounding success during lockdown. In just 11 evenings, the helpline was called thousands of times, and the poets jointly delivered the equivalent of more than 12 days of non-stop poetry.
In your ear
In these times when we cannot touch each other, we need to be touched more than ever. Words can also touch this, and they can do so safely. Especially when they land softly in your ear, over the telephone. You don’t know which poet you will get on the other end of the line. However, you can choose poems in Dutch, French, English, Arabic, Spanish, German or Italian.
The number will be announced during the festival.
About the poets
Laura Accerboni (b. 1985) was born in Genoa and lives in Lugano. Since her debut at a young age, she has won several prizes in Italy for her poetry. Besides her work as a poet, she is also active as a photographer and edits the literary magazine Steve. (IT)
Samantha Barendson (b. 1976) is a multilingual poet. Born in Spain, she grew up in Argentina and Mexico and has been living in France for some time. Like herself, her poetry travels from language to language. Barendson is a member of the collective ‘Le syndicat des poètes qui vont mourir un jour’. (FR)
Carmen Camacho (b. 1976) is a Spanish poet, journalist and aphorist. In her work she often engages in a dialogue with other art forms. She has made several dance performances, for instance, and is working on a spoken word show with a punk rock band. (ES)
Laura Casielles (b. 1986) is a Spanish journalist, translator and poet. She was the first winner of the Miguel Hernandez Young Poetry Prize. Casielles performs regularly, including on international stages such as the Córdoba Book Fair in Argentina and the world-renowned poetry festival in Bogotá, Colombia. (ES)
Andy Fierens (b. 1976) is a Belgian poet and prose writer who tears up the stage. With his hilarious and merciless texts, and his uncompromising live performances, he soon became a remarkable and much sought-after guest on stages in Belgium and far beyond, from South Africa to Japan. (NL)
Dagmara Kraus (b. 1981) was born in Poland but grew up in Germany. Her work is issued by the leading publishing house Kookbooks. Kraus currently lives in the countryside in France, where she is indulging her recent interest in and love of radio plays. (DE)
Iduna Paalman (b. 1991) is a Dutch poet. She is a regular columnist for the platform Hard//hoofd and performs regularly with her own work. In 2016 she won the Lowlands Schrijfwedstrijd. Her first collection, De grom uit de hond halen, was awarded the Poëziedebuutprijs in 2020. (NL)
Lamia Makaddam is a Dutch-Tunisian poet. In Tunisia she studied Arabic language and literature. She has published three books of poetry in Arabic and in 2000 won the El Hizjra literature prize. Je zult me vinden in elk woord dat ik schrijf, released in 2020, is her first collection to be translated into Dutch.
Carl Norac (b. 1960) is the Belgian National Poet. He has written more than 80 children’s storybooks and collections of children’s poetry, which have now been translated into 47 languages. Twenty years ago, before he could live by his pen, he worked as a French teacher, travelling librarian, journalist and professor of literary history at the Royal Conservatory of Mons. (FR)
Jan Wagner (b. 1971) was the first poet ever to win the Preis der Leipziger Buchmesse with his collection Regentonvariaties. He is regarded as ‘the best poet of his generation’, according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung. The Frankfurter Allgemeine agrees: ‘This is simply grandiose, breathtaking poetry’. (DE)
Ryan Van Winkle is an American poet and podcaster who has been living for some time in Edinburgh. His work Red, Like Our Room Used To Feel, which he always read aloud to one person at a time, was hailed as a ‘landmark in poetry performance’ by The Guardian. (EN)
In collaboration with Poëziecentrum/Versopolis.
Passa Porta, Verb(l)ind, Muntpunt, Goethe-Institut