An birthday party for an old brown literary café in Antwerp brought a nice crowd. Eight poets read from their work and I was one of them. The café Den Hopsack has been a gathering point since 40 years and I have had the occasion to read there several times. The athmosphere is always relaxed: totally unknown poets are treated with the same respect as some who have made a name. It is a good place to try something new out, or to present a book. January 24th, the book Sequenza, by Marleen de Crée, will be presented in Dutch with my English translation. She choose, in the year she turned seventy, seven times five poems from diffrent volumes she had previously published. So it will be an excellent introduction for people who want to get her work. She received several prizes and distinctions for her work. So I am proud to be her voice in English. The first poem of the book:
I tell you, Plinius, it is September
poets turn in the tide.
fruit ripens on warm walls,
don’t forget: these are the last hours
of summer. warmth, nothing can happen still.
it are the quiet days of the year,
because more patiently all is carried
in multiples of the last gestation.
September knows what fondness means
and love draws shadows of wax.
I say: once prudence was calculated
by the outline of a water glass.
the grapes, Plinius, the last trestles
of what a poet’s summer was.