Vers Brussel

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Never before have visual artists from Belgium and poets from abroad worked together – until now. Curious to find out what this creative cross-pollination will lead to? Then set out on a poetic stroll through Brussels with Passa Porta.

Brussels is pure poetry

It is a city full of contrasts, paradoxes and emotions, a city which plays with the words of everyone, of everywhere and always. The city is constantly changing; it is a laboratory that calls out for creation.

In 2004, the literary organisation Passa Porta took an initiative to capitalise on Brussels' linguistic riches and give poetry a prominent and permanent place in the city in a variation on the official poets in other cities have.

Twelve poets from as many language areas, from Lisbon to Moscow and from Stockholm to Kinshasa, together wrote a colourful and polyphonic ode to the poetry of the metropolis.

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For a whole week, the poets immersed themselves in the daily life of a piece of Brussels in the company of a Belgian artist. They visited the squares, parks and streets, the houses and cafes, and listened to the inhabitants and their stories. They then wrote new poetry on the basis of their impressions, in a language which is the mother tongue of a great many Brussels residents.

Over the past few years, the visual artists have been responsible for a number of temporary interventions in Brussels' public space, whereby they have added their visual interpretation to the work of the poets. The local residents were also active partners, for example by taking part in workshops on word and image.

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Furthermore, each artist is creating a permanent work of art, a symbiosis of the poet's and artist's view of the district they visited together. Ten works have since been inaugurated. The ultimate aim is a poetic circuit of twelve works of art of lasting value throughout the city. Another way of ‘reading' the city.

Vers Brussel, Poëzie in de stad is supported by the Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie van het Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest and the Nationale Loterij.

drawings © Peter Weidenbaum, © Maurine Toussaint & © Studio PikNik