High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands


High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

Dewi de Nijs Bik Represents the Dutch Language at European Poetry Festival Transpoesie
© Stefan Rustenburg
© Stefan Rustenburg © Stefan Rustenburg

Dewi de Nijs Bik Represents the Dutch Language at European Poetry Festival Transpoesie

Every year around 26 September, the European Day of Languages, Transpoesie invites poets from all over Europe to Brussels. Their poems are displayed in public spaces in their original language, with Dutch, French and English translations. This year, the European poetry festival is dedicated to female voices and art nouveau. Flemish-Dutch house deBuren selected the Dutch writer of Transpoesie: former writing resident Dewi de Nijs Bik, who just released her debut collection Indolente (‘Indolent’). Read her Transpoesie poem 'Totem' here.


Distance is needed
to grow closer;
there is always a need for distance.
Let the word be our shell,
the way it fits our bodies: a scab,
sometimes still a wound,
which can become a scab again.
The shell grows to accommodate
the caprice of its bearers: everyone
needs a bed
– the healing
is found in the wound.
The bed can be the shell,
anchorage for our capricious flesh;
room is needed.
There is always a room.

Dewi de Nijs Bik (1990) is a poet who lives in Amsterdam. This year the Arbeiderspers published her first collection, Indolente (‘Indolent’), in which she writes about subjects that range from food and oysters to historiography, searching for language and a form that makes our shared past tangible.

Her writing has also appeared in literary magazines such as DW B, Poëziekrant and nY, and in audio form on DIG, Opium and Nooit meer slapen. De Nijs Bik performs regularly at a range of Dutch and Belgian venues.

She wrote articles and interviews for the Indies monthly Moesson for ten years and has worked as an editor at Amsterdam’s Perdu poetry venue. In 2018 she participated in deBuren’s Paris residence.

Dewi de Nijs Bik will perform in Brussels on 26 September at the Citizens’ Garden and the Liszt Institute. The following afternoon, on 27 September, she will engage with other poets at a poetic lunch at the Maison Hannon. For the full programme of Transpoesie, please visit transpoesie.eu.

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