Sytse Jansma in Oslo

As a result of the international festival for literature in Kenya (Kistrech) in 2018, Sytse Jansma established contacts with several Norwegian and Swedish poets.

In April 2019, a weekend was organized in Oslo, where six poets from these countries gathered. Gigs were organized, discussions were held with magazine publishers, discussion evenings were held, and further networks were expanded. All in all an interesting cultural exchange that will be continued, probably in Gothenburg, Sweden.

In Oslo there was also a performance in Cappelens Forslag, a bookshop in the city centre. On the photo the Dutch poet Frank Keizer reading his poetry.

Four Frisan poets on tour in Denmark

Photo: Pieter Postma

From March 11-17, the RIXT-poets Cornelis van der Wal, Elmar Kuiper, Syds Wiersma, and Geart Tigchelaar stayed in the Danish city of Aarhus. They wrote a series of poems there, had a few performances, and participated in a translation session with Danish poets. Besides Aarhus, the Frisian poets had also a performance in the Poesiens Hus in Copenhagen. In 2020 a bilingual collection of Danish and Frisian poems will be presented at the LiteratureXchange Festival in Aarhus. It will be published by Hispel, the Frisian publishing house to which these poets are connected.

The Frisian poets, for this occasion calling themselves The Red Runes (Reade Runen; after a famous Frisian poetry book by Ella Wassenaer published in 1959), were invited to Aarhus by the Danish prose poet Carsten René Nielsen. He visited the Frisian capital Leeuwarden in 2018 and decided together with Geart Tigchelaar that it might be interesting to initiate an exchange project between Danish and Frisian poets. The stay in Aarhus was a first step, the collection of Danish and Frisian poems and the presence of the Frisian poets at the LiteratureXchange Festival next year, is an important next event.

Read more here
For a photo impression of the tour , see the facebook page of The Red Runes / Reade Runen

Cornelis van der Wal, Poesiens Hus, Copenhagen

Other Words Literature

The Other Words Literature project was put forward by Donostia Kultura and San Sebastian in 2016. It is a partnership programme between cultural organisations in European regions, which aims to establish a network of creative placements for European writers in small and minority languages. Participating regions from 2015-2019 were: The Basque Country, Friesland, Slovenia, North Macedonia, and Ireland.

During the project the RIXT-poets André Looijenga, Gerard Marcel de Jong, and Hein Jaap Hilarides were selected by a Frisian jury to write a creation work abroad. André was in Bitola in 2016 (North Macedonia), Gerard in Donostia/San Sebastian in 2017 (The Basque Country), and Hein Jaap in Maribor (Slovenia) in 2017. None of the three worked on poetry during their stay.

The works of prose they created at the mentioned places can be read here.
André Looijenga: The train to Monastir
Gerard Marcel de Jong: Footsteps in the clay
Hein Jaap Hilarides: Blind horse

Other participating Frisian writers were Bart Kingma, Karen Bies, and Jan Menno Rozendal

The organization is working on a continuation of the exchange project in the next years.

Swallows and Floating Horses. An anthology of Frisian literature

Last year the first English anthology of Frisian literature was published: Swallows and Floating Horses. This publication forms a perfect match with As Long as the Tree Blooms (WLT, Jan. 2019). Where the latter is a concise, colorful, and illustrated introductory history of Frisian literature, Swallows offers a more detailed approach that includes excerpts of texts with a translation in English, accompanied by essential information for sufficient context. An eight-page introduction provides the historical framework. The book contains a selection of around 140 entries in a compact layout.

The first entry starts with the arrival of English missionaries and offers an excerpt of the biography of Liudger, the first missionary bishop of ethnic Frisian origin. He miraculously cured the blind Frisian singer Bernlef (ca. 800), “who was dearly loved by his neighbours . . . for his skill in reciting their ancestors’ deeds and their kings’ feats of arms to the music of the harp.” The last entry presents a poem by a RIXT-poet, Elmar Kuiper (b. 1969). He cries out about the deadened agro-industrial modern Frisian landscape: “when the lapwing / on my land shrieks eek-eek at the sight / of her ruined nest, where my godwit weeps / like a blind poet, sick with yearning.”

Achter De Hoven

Op freed 31 augustus 2018 hâldt foar it lêst in reguliere stoptrein ho op halte Ljouwert Achter De Hoven. It minst brûkte treinstasjon fan Nederlân wurdt dêrmei út de tsjinstregeling helle. André Looijenga, ús moannedichter fan  augustus, wennet by it stasjontsje om ‘e hoeke. Hoewol ‘t er der noait yn- of útstapt is, skreau dit lytse earbetoan.


Achter De Hoven

8:07 ri. Leeuwarden
15:52 ri. Groningen
16:52 ri. Groningen

efkes foar it einstasjon
krekt nei it fuortriden
remme de trein ôf yn
krekt net de stêd

twa man derút moarns
middeis ien der wer yn
wer oplûken yn it blau
fan moarn of jûn

ho-ven melde de stim
de ynsitters as yn har
ûnfêste sliep

klompetreinen holden hjir
sa’t se se neamden mei
arbeiders út wâlddoarpen
foar fla en moal

op it kizelstienbeton
beäntwurden de klompen
oan kollega’s, kunde in

hearst hjir faaks skimerblau
de tegels noch skrassen
as it nevelmoarns stil wurdt
nei ‘t lânsriden

it perron bliuwt wol wachtsjen
en oan de kant nei hûs
stiet in abri noch salang’t
er him skûlhâldt

© André Looijenga