Dutch writer-columnist Simon(e) van Saarloos and poet-performer Dean Bowen are going transatlantic this spring. In New Orleans, each in their own way, they will use the eclectic dynamics of this city in the south of the US to explore themes such as the plurality and construction of identities, individual and role model, history and present.
Dean Bowen will stay for two months (April and May) in the multidisciplinary artist residence Deltaworkers; Van Saarloos for one month (mid-March to mid-April). Their research is made possible by the Dutch Foundation for Literature.
Bowen unravelled in his debut, Bokman, all his life history and cultural legacy, which take place on different continents. As a poet, the black literary tradition from the US has always been important to him. In New Orleans he wants to investigate the mechanism behind group identification. How does one relate there to the plurality of a black identity? He wants to elaborate on this theme in his second collection.
Simon(e) van Saarloos is fascinated by the hidden lgbtq-history of the southern states, the lively queer culture in New Orleans now, and the way in which the US uses the south as a 'selling point' - just as in the Netherlands the conservative US are used to emphasize and perpetuate the progressive self-image of the Netherlands. Her research will take the form of an essay on remembrance, ‘queer forgetting’ and political memory, and a non-fiction book on white memory and the self-evidences in relation to the past.
Top image: Dean Bowen © Irwan Droog / Simon(e) van Saarloos © Frank Ruiter