The Itinerant Poetry Library

Since May 2006, The Itinerant Poetry Librarian has been travelling the world with a library of ‘Lost & Forgotten’ poetry, installing the library & librarian and archiving the sounds, poems and poetry of the cities, peoples and countries she meets. Welcome to the project's blog . . . Our Itinerant Poetry Librarian lives wherever her library is - come join the cause!

FAQs: • Yes we carry our entire life and the library with us as we go • Yes, it is quite heavy • No, we're not mad. As Charles Simic said, 'But what if poets are not crazy?' That's the spirit boyo!

We exist to: remind people of the importance of free public libraries...subvert mainstream channels of distribution...remind people that access to knowledge should be free and not dependent upon economic wealth hierarchies... show people that poetry/art can provide answers to questions we ask of life...experiment in existing outside of 'the market' – thereby, instead, investing in social capital, social innovation and community.

We aim to make life taste better. Word.

Where have we been . . . ?

(2006) Amsterdam, Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Munich, Paris, Barcelona, London, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Norwich, York, Antwerp, (2007-2008) San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Leipzig, (2009) Ulm, Chemnitz, Rotterdam, Huntingdon, Callander, (2010) Cork, St. Andrews . . . Where'd you like us to go? Can you help? Get in touch!

What We Are Up To Right Now . . .


Wednesday, 15 November 2006

Antwerp Joins Library. Librarian Joins Dots.

So. Our intrepid Itinerant One is called over to assist in the NACHT VAN DE POWEZIE in Antwerp. This consists of taking part in the all night poetry reading as well as walking around signing up members to the library with our little brown suitcase. It all took place at TNIEF BADHUIS, BURCHTGRACHT 14, which for those with inadequate belgianflemishdutchtypelanguage skills means The Bathhouse, 14 Burchtgracht, Antwerp. Which really was a former bath house, currently an awe-inspiring four storey squat. The Librarian arrived in the daylight, and so was able to help decorate the place. Which was a slightly sisphyian task at some points. Especially when helping cook Tomas try and staple gun gold brocade to the ceiling while balancing on a step ladder and the staple gun keeps breaking open and thus losing its staples every second shot. Everything finally got hung in place though and it looked beautiful. Several hours, a bowl of north african soup cooked by Tomas, a finished copy of Nicholson Baker’s ‘Double-Fold&rsquo, and a free beer later, two hundred people came to the squat to see all these poets and experimental musicians perform: H.J. Claeys, Hans Plomp, DJ Bert Lezy's experimental drawing space, Aixia, De Antistresspoweet, Chi-Trung Nguyen, Oam Boca Sista, Yasuhiro Yotsumoto, Barry Fitton, Mario Salis, Louise Landes Levi, Claude Lammens, Sara Wingate Gray, Peter Waugh, Irene, Ernest Marechal, Marleen van Joolen, Max Lerou, Pom Wolff, Freek Lomme, Xavier Roelens, Verde Ben-Kiki, Pieter Hemeryck, Richard Steegmans, Luk Paard, Cralan Kelder, Gijs Ter Haar, Manu Bruynserade, Stoffel Hendrickx, Els Dams, Stijn Vranken, Marc Tiefenthal, Artiestencollectief JA!, Sacha De Backer, Kaatje Wharton, Wosky, Waxinelichtje + Mariette, Bart Van Peer, Didi de Paris, Sven De Swerts, Frans Vlinderman, JMH Berckmans en Kris Verdonck, Bart Van Peel, Philip Van Beek, Peter Holvoet Hanssen, David Van den Bosch, de Transformateurkens, Daan Goor, Hilde Droogné, , Gunther De Wit, Sandra Verheij, Tania Jooris, De Jazzpoëtici, Pisteffo en Fronk, Bart De Wildeman, Herman van Lunen, Maarten Redstar, Joran Van Windt, Wil Fraikin, Het Venijnig Gebroed, Danny Danker, David Boulée, Nico Rubens, Mario Janssens, Emile Wouters, Enak Kortebeek. It was amazing. We will be getting pictures sent over soon, and will post them up. Highlights included the Artiestencollectief performing their brand of improvised sound and vocal compositions while projecting live images onto a screen on the back wall - this was also in the still-tiled and mosaiced former bath area with fittings still intact - (and we had a nice chat with Maarten from this group too), Peter Waugh’s sound poetry, the Pyromancer Poet we saw back in June in Ruigoord, this time dressed head to toe in English Gentleman tweed rather than covered in fire . . . and much more until the small twee wee hours. The Librarian made it to bed at 4am. We are not sure when the event actually stopped itself . . .

Important Library Note

New Antwerp Library member Xavier Roelens. You borrowed ‘The Heart of the Ancient Balcony&rsquo by Glynn Pursglove and DID NOT RETURN SAID ITEM. This is in breach of too many of our ByeByeLaws to list here without scaring you (e.g. for reference see the one about when you are liable to pay off our librarian’s student loan). Please get in touch to return our book. Best wishes. The Itinerant Poetry Librarian.

Where we performed: The Bathhouse

The front of this space. If only all houses looked similar . . .

‘Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal, the Cathedral of Our Lady’ in Antwerp

Statue of Brabo

According to folklore, the city got its name from a legend involving a mythical giant called Antigoon that lived near the river Scheldt, exacting a toll from those crossing the river. On refusal, the giant severed one of their hands and threw them into the Scheldt. Eventually, the giant was slain by a young hero named Brabo, who cut off the giant's hand and threw it into the river. Hence the name Antwerpen from Dutch hand werpen (hand-throwing). This is what my Belgian friends told me anyway. And Wikipedia says it too so it must be true. Hah.

Someone having a treasure hunt in Antwerp? We found these signs on the street. ‘Which Belgian city has a tram stop called Moscow’?

Het Steen - The Stone, Antwerp’s oldest building, built in 1200 - 1225, and previously known as Antwerp Castle

The Ship Musuem next to Antwerp Castle

The sky as we left Antwerp

What we like about Squats in Belgium: cool poster art

What we think of this particular squat

A Belgian film in directorial process at our departure lounge. What is going on?

Our Librarian gets to Trafalgar Square demos too . . .

& has friends who lose things after Halloween escapades . . .

We also did a reading at the Hopsack cafe while in Antwerp and got to hear poetry in Japanese, Dutch, English, French and probably Flemish. We’d like to say thanks to poets Louise Landes Levi and Yasuhiro Yotsumoto for donating copies of their poetry books to the library too. And finally we send librarian thanks to Frans and Nip who offered couch surfing Antwerp facilities and didn’t freak out too much when our librarian started to cough up some spots and dots of blood. Luckily, the Librarian has since been to the Doctor and does not have TB. Just a cough. We were a little worried seeing as one of our favourite poets is Keats and as ole Tennessee wrote ‘As a poet, I have a weakness for symbols’ . . . Doei!

Fully signed up Antwerp Library Members! Hurray!

Total Library Members as of today! As poet Salena Saliva Godden might say . . . She-Booooooooooom or as poet Barry Fitton might say . . . Hallelujah! Either way . . . We say, FUck yeAH!

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