The city of Antwerp has about forty candidates for the new five poets. This swimming pool will replace the city poetship. “It concerns both new and names”, says Antwerp alderman for Culture Nabilla Ait Daoud (N-VA).
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Antwerp alderman Ait Daoud will stop the system whereby the city appoints a city poet for two years. Seckou Ouologuem is the current and tenth city poet, but also the last to bear this title. Antwerp starts with a pool of five poets for a period of two years.
“The enthusiasm for this pool is great,” says Ait Daoud. We have already received about 40 candidates. They are both new and names. A jury will choose five poets for this pool at the end of this month. Citizens and organizations can then ask them for a poem.”
The transformation of the city poet into a pool of five does clash with criticism from councilors Caroline Bastiaens (CD&V) and Niel Staes (N-VA). Although the aldermen deny this, both argue that the city council has now abolished the city poetship.
“The mind and soul of a city poet is mowed away,” says Staes. “It is no longer a prominent figure.”
Bastiaens says so too. “The unique thing about being a city poet is that the poet can look at the city in complete freedom and in his own way through a poem,” says the councilor. “That will no longer be the case. This indicates your vision of art and culture.” svw