Photographer:Fotograaf: Mikhail Ratner
As the meek face of morning
Peered, winking generously
Over the woken earth
Came a lonely boat,
Slaving to the tide
Soothing solemnly by
As a sailing thought
Slowly making its way
Across the pallid waters
Of my liquid mind.
Yes, it is 2017 and there are still young people who like poetry. It is Wednesday evening, and in the crowded room of the InnBetween (the student chaplaincy) around fifty people sit in silence, listening to each other’s poems. Adja Sy, one of the organizers of the events, tells how her friend Lea started this tradition, around three years ago: “We were just a few people, we would fit in a kitchen! Now it just gets bigger every time we meet”, since this year Poetry Slams became more regular, taking place more or less every month. Someone in the audience jokes about the fact that she was invited to a poetry slam by her last Tinder date.
The edge of the stage is bordered by candles, and on the stage stand a chair and a lamp. The indistinct chatter fades away as a slightly nervous person goes on the stage with a notebook in her hands. In a world where people are taught not to show their weakness or weirdness, here young writers express their most personal thoughts, accepting their vulnerability and not being judged. Some people write for protest, others to express their feelings or to tell a story. The subjects of the poems vary from hot air balloons, politics, love and fear, and while some poems are deep and personal, others are just very funny. Other than in their style, poems also differed in their language, ranging from Dutch, German, English and Spanish.
See how the human condition
complicated by our capacity for imagination
but imagination is such a poorly tuned instrument
something like the curse of babel
probably a deliberate impediment.