ochtendgebed voor als het nog donker is
In the 1950s, poet/writer Paul Rodenko wrote the essay Double Standards. In this essay, he talks about the shift of the centre of gravity within poetry, namely from the eye to the hand, and argues that poetry or at least experimental poetry has become more corporeal, more tactile, and above all that language itself is physically experienced. The poem is no longer an expression of thoughts, feelings or a mimicry of reality, but a bodily gesture, an extension of human perception. In 2015, there was an evening programme at Perdu (Met twee maaten) in which Rodenko’s essay and the question of” What is experimental poetry today?” was also explored. During this programme, Frank Keizer drew Rodenko’s question of the experimental through to contemporary poetry and wrote that poetry expresses what is happening to the body right now, and that experimental poetry makes language available to describe the experimentation to which man himself is subject.
On February 2nd, Veva Leye, Caroline Ruijgrok, Betül Sefika and Simone Atangana Bekono build on the thesis put forward by Frank Keizer: poetry as an expression of what happens to the body. With new work that perhaps demands an extra-linguistic demand of the poem, namely not describing but becoming a body, they explore the transfiguring effect of poetry. Poetry not merely as an expression of the body, but as a generator.
Veva Leye‘s poetry has been published in/on nY, DIG, Samplekanon and presented at Perdu, M Leuven, Art Cinema OFFoff, among others. Her collection HAP AX LE GO ME NON was published by balanseer (2018). As part of her exhibition of, also, but not quite (Convent, Ghent, 14.04-21.05 2023), the edition AUX PAIRS appeared at infinitif.org.
Caroline Ruijgrok is a visual artist. In her practice, she meanders between a direct, almost unmediated handling of material and a view from above. She makes sculptures and installations, as well as curating exhibitions and books (How Things Move Us, 2016, – Trebelsee; This is a Translation, 2019, Mister Motley). Her ceramic work touches on a basic experience of physicality, touch and deformation – and was featured at the Korean International Ceramic Biennale (2021), among others. She also makes spatial work for public space in collaboration with Sajoscha Talirz. Their most recent sculpture RISE (2023) recently stood in the Eendrachtspark in Amsterdam Nieuw-West.
Betül Sefika (1995), visual artist and writer, lives and works in Brussels. She was selected for DeBuren’s Paris residency in 2020 and the Slow Writing Lab in 2022. She currently resides in the artist complex Hectolitre, in the Marolles neighbourhood. In her work, she explores what presence and absence can mean in text and image. To this end, she writes, draws and builds with materials and techniques of a modest nature, forms that can refute focus of themselves, such as fragments, smallness, semi-transparency, reflective materials, negative spaces, from the idea that absence is held by what is. Her work has previously appeared in DW B, Kluger Hans, Deus Ex Machina, rekto:verso, Tim magazine and in the Forest in the form of poetry, illustration, video, horoscope and installation.
Simone Atangana Bekono writes poetry and prose. She graduated from ArtEZ Creative Writing with hoe de eerstevonken zichtbaar waren, a collection of poems and letters that was awarded the Poëziedebuutprijs aan Zee and the Charlotte Köhler Stipendium. Her debut roman Confrontaties was awarded various prizes. Both her prose and poetry has been translated to various languages. In January 2024, her second poetry bundle Marshmallow was published.
Tabea Nixdorff (1986) is an artist, typographer and researcher. Her work moves between collective learning, publishing, social gatherings and also takes the form of performances around sound and language. Nixdorff’s work often departs from archives and deals with small histories that carry larger themes such as omissions and distortions in historical narratives, embodied forms of knowledge, queer belonging and a feminist poetics of error.