Countless pages of beautiful poetry are written in Flanders and the Netherlands. Unfortunately, all of that poetic output tends to be read by just a limited number of people. Ons Erfdeel vzw and Poëziecentrum vzw are joining forces to get young people in the Low Countries excited about contemporary Dutch-language poetry. With the support of the Dutch Foundation for Literature, they are about to launch a video poetry project, entitled Bewogen Verzen (Moving Verses), with which they encourage all young poetry fans and budding videographers out there to get involved.
Our world is defined by the power of images. In order to allow more young people to discover the beauty of poetry, we should address them using imagery, made by their peers. At least, that is what Flemish-Dutch cultural institution Ons Erfdeel vzw and Poëziecentrum vzw in Ghent are aiming for.
Both organisations are appealing to young poetry fans in the Low Countries to send in the Dutch-language poems they deem worthy of being brought to life through the magic of videography. Important note: the poems must be published after the year 2000. However, eligible verses are not limited to the ones in print; rap, slam or spoken word can also be included. Youngsters whose poems are chosen are in with a chance of winning a top-notch selection of books.
A professional jury, including members from both Flanders and the Netherlands, will pick a further thirty from all submitted poems. Those thirty poems should best demonstrate the wealth and diversity of this literary genre in our linguistic area.
From verse to video
Young Flemish and Dutch videographers who want to translate poems into imagery are urged to respond to an open call. A jury of professional filmmakers will select ten participants based on the quality and originality of their portfolios.
Each of those videographers will then choose his or her favourite poem from the thirty entries and will receive 1,000 Euros to realise their artistic vision, and to be able to visually interpret the poems in three languages (Dutch, French and English). They are free to create a video montage, an animated film, motion graphics, a stop motion animation, or any mix of those.
During their creative process the chosen videographers will be coached in a series of three workshops organised by motion designer Klaas Verpoest (www.klaasverpoest.com), who has plenty of experience when it comes to translating literature to visuals.
The finished thirty video poems will premiere in the autumn of 2019 during two separate opening nights, i.e. one in Flanders, and one in the Netherlands. They will also be shared on a massive scale through social media and the web sites of various Flemish, Dutch and international cultural organisations that appeal to a younger audience. Moreover, the videos will be made available for educational purposes both at home and abroad, including initiatives that promote reading.
With Bewogen Verzen Ons Erfdeel vzw and Poëziecentrum are actually killing two birds with one stone.
On the one hand, they are boosting video poetry, which, as a literary art form, is still in its infancy in the Low Countries. The multilingual component of the project allows Dutch-language poetry to transcend our countries’ national borders. Furthermore, the poems’ iconic value will grant us a deeper understanding of the power of contemporary Dutch-language poetry. Finally, there is added value for the young videographers in working with poetry, as it is an art form they might not be exposed to otherwise.
The Bewogen Verzen project is made possible with the full and active support of the Dutch Foundation for Literature.
Young poetry fans and videographers who want to participate in Bewogen Verzen should have a look at www.onserfdeel.be/bewogenverzen for further information.