The Arch

The Arch

This year in March poet Geart Tigchelaar cycled from Fryslân to the Soutar Festival of Words in Perth, where he had a reading with Scots poet David Eyre about the relation between Frisian and Scots on the basis of Tigchelaar his work. Eyre is currently working on a translation of Tigchelaar his debut collection of poetry leech hert yn nij jek [empty heart in new jacket] (Hispel 2016) to Scots.
Tigchelaar had an anthology of Soutars poems in his pannier. The poet also packed his camera, so he gave himself the assignment to make a photograph each day, which suited a poem or a fragment of a poem and posted them on the social media. The organisation from StAnza Festival in St Andrews (where Tigchelaar has performed in 2018) really liked the initiative and bundled the photos and poems in an e-book.

Tigchelaar has also written a poem, inspired by the life and work of William Soutar, which was translated by Eyre in Scots and published here.


Next Sunday there is a presentation of Unlân, the debut collection of poetry by Gerrit de Vries.  ‘Oyster’, the poem below, is a pre-publication. More information about the presentation, you find here


in the end there is only one question
can you live with yourself or not

like an oyster
naked on a tray
I lie before you
you may
cut the pearls
out of my body
but please
no lemon
no salt

Translation: Trevor M. Scarse



úteinlik is der mar ien fraach
ast mei dysels wol libje kinst

as in oester
neaken op in skaaltsje
lis ik hjir foar dy
meist my
de pearels wol
út de bealch snije
mar asjeblyft
gjin sitroen
gjin sâlt

© Gerrit de Vries
Ûnlân (Hispel, 2019)

kentish plovers in Florence

An unpublished poem by Jan Kooistra, translated by the author himself.

kentish plovers in Florence

the day transcends
the dawn
the city with eternal splendour
sighs as always
in the warm valley
the Porta Romana is wide open
thousands flock
through oppressively dark streets
heading to lighter squares

the body needs cooling
but the mind escapes
walks along the icy sea
sees plovers running proudly
feels her hand
sleeps with her on a single pillow

night is falling
a roaming man
heading to the valley
his visions crystal clear
of the cypresses
merely the contours


dûkelmantsjes yn Firenze

de dei giet
de dage te boppe
de stêd mei syn ivige pracht
suchtet as alear
yn ‘e waarme fallei
de Porta Romana stiet wagewiid iepen
tûzenen kringe har troch
neare donkere strjitten
op nei ljochtere pleinen

it liif moat ferkuolling
mar de geast ûntkomt
rint lâns de iiskâlde see
sjocht parmantich rinnende
fielt har hân
sliept mei har op ien kessen

de jûn falt
in doarmjende man
op wei nei de delling
messkerp syn bylden
fan de sipressen
allinnich de kontoeren

© Jan Kooistra

Performance Frisian poet Nyk de Vries in Lithuania

Photo: Maarten van der Kamp

In October 2019, the Frisian poet Nyk de Vries will perform at the poetry festival ‘Druskininkai Poetic Fall’ in Lithuania. The festival invited De Vries (who lives in Amsterdam) in the context of Versopolis, a European project around promising European poets. At the inivitation of the Poetry Center in Gent, De Vries was added to the project In the beginning of this year. Together with the Dutch poets Maarten van der Graaff, Maria Barnas en Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer. Each Versopolis partner selects a few poets, who subsequently can be invited by other European literary festivals.

It will not be Nyk de Vries his first performance in Lithuania. He was there before in 1992, as a musician with his band The Amp. One of his performances was broadcasted then by the national Lithuanian television station.

Oan the wey tae

In April 2019, Geart Tigchelaar travelled on his bike to the Soutar Festival of Words in Perth, Scotland. William Soutar, to whom the festival is dedicated, was a poet who published in English and Scottish. He was born in 1898 and died in 1943. From his twenties, Soutar was bedridden because of the Bechterew disease. On the occasion of his bike trip and as a tribute to Soutar’s life and poetry, Tigchelaar wrote a poem. His Scottish colleague Daibhidh Eyre, together with whom Tigchelaar had a performance at the festival, translated the poem into Scottish.

oan the wey tae

the farrest ye’ll gae in fellaship
o yirsel
wi the true boun mates
hings to hink oan an fantasy
aw the days oot the door
oan the soonds trouch the apen windae
wi weel-kent reek
aa afore tae be lived the day
A cycle by him anew
oan a bed in a chamber
fir richt reason o thoan greater
nor A fir whom the warld
lies apen
tire-baunds straik flochty
ower unkent pads
as the dingit pen
ower unscreivit
fell o paper

Translation: Daibhidh Eyre

op wei nei

it fierst giet men yn selskip
fan jinsels
mei de trouwe bûnsmaten
oantinkens en fantasije
alle dagen de doar út
op ‘e lûden troch iepen finster
mei bekende rook
fan alear is de belibbing
op ‘e nij fyts ik oan him foarby
op in bêd yn in keamer
krekt om dy reden grutter
as ik foar wa’t de wrâld
iepen leit
bannen streekje flugger
oer ûnbekende paden
as de pinne omdoch
oer ûnbeskreaun
fel papier

 © Geart Tigchelaar


Step by step

A new poem by Yttje Cnossen, written in English.

Step by step

boots carefully chosen boots
black ones with grey layers
and chocolate bridges over bright soles

secret leather hidden under black cuffs
black ones decorated with a shiny cherry dot
and brown boots steady on black soles

boots of a cloudy grey material
watching over a striped surface
and out of the blue some non matching laces

sea clouds vanish slowly in the skies
while we are roaming westward
walking the South Downs way

© Yttje Cnossen

Geart Tigchelaar at the Soutar Festival of Words in Perth

Poet Geart Tigchelaar has performed at the international poetry festival StAnza in St. Andrews, Scotland, last year. There he met the Scottish poet David Eyre, who was intrigued by the similarities between Frisian and Scots. As a result, he has started with the translation of Tigchelaar’s work. Eyre was asked to talk at the Soutar Festival of Words about the relationship between Scots and Frisian with the poetry of Tigchelaar as an example. The festival organisation invited Tigchelaar to Perth to accompany and strengthen this presentation. A talk about multilingual poetry suited the festival, as William Soutar, whom the festival is named after, wrote in both Scots and English.

On the 28th of April, the room was not crowded, but the people who did attend were greatly interested. That Sunday afternoon it became much more a conversation with the audience than a poetry recital with a talk afterwards. The audience was not only interested in both Scots and Frisian, but also in the distinct similarities between the two languages (see the poem below). Scots is often seen as poorly pronounced English, but Eyre made clear that this is far from true. His aim is to point towards the relationship with Frisian and transfer that Scots is just a variant of the broad Germanic language family. Frisian is regularly described as melodic, also by people who do not know the language. This afternoon in Perth it was noted that both languages share this melodious ring to it.

Eyre plans to continue translating Tigchelaar’s collection of poetry leech hert yn nij jek and hopes to find a publisher in due time.

The poem below is first written in Scots by David Eyre at the StAnza Festival and then translated with the support of Tigchelaar.


For how sad Ah no daur it?
Ah hae a mammietung
an that tung has a freen.
Lee me gang ther, tae her feastmeal
fu wurdies waarm an licht,
an lee me eat ma full.
Ma tung isna sweir
nae band oer ma mou –
her wurdies smak sae guid tae me.
Saut fae ilka sea has worth.



Wêrom soe ik it net doare?
Ik ha in memmetaal
en dy taal hat in freon.
Lit my gean dêre, oan har feestmiel
fan wurden waarm en licht,
en lit my my fol ite.
Myn tonge is net swier
gjin bân oer myn mûle –
har wurden smeitsje my goed.
Sâlt fan elke see hat wearde.

Elmar Kuiper selected for Transpoesie in Bruxelles

A jury of the Frisian Writers Association has chosen RIXT-poet Elmar Kuiper to represent the Frisian language at the ninth edition of Transpoesie, an European poetry festival in Bruxelles. Kuiper will perform on September 16, at the Day of the Languages, one of the events organized by the festival in the period September-October. The annual festival is organized by the EUNIC, the network of European Union National Institutes for Culture.

Elmar Kuiper was selected by the Frisian jury because of his poem Myn lân (‘My land’). Last year Janneke Spoelstra, also connected to RIXT, was the first poet to represent Friesland in Bruxelles.