Posts Tagged ‘Dutch’

Wall Poems

Leave it to the Dutch to create neat graffiti. In Leiden, they have printed poems on walls in beautiful fonts, like this poem by Paul Snoek, “Een zwemmer is een ruiter,” which appears on the wall of the public pool, De Zijl. It has apparently been there since 2003. Now there is a website that catalogs the wall poems, which were inscribed between 1992 and 2005, and which I stumbled upon this evening while trying out Google’s Webmaster Tools and then searching for links to this blog. I didn’t actually find a link to this blog that time, but did find a blog that referenced the poem and my translation of it (posted on the website) from Hercules, Richelieu, and Nostradamus, published by Green Integer Press in 2000. Most of the website is in Dutch, but most of the poems seem to have translations in English and other languages. If you’re interested in seeing pictures of a Dutch city or seeing the way these poems have been printed on buildings or in interior spaces, check it out.

Literary Influence

More fun with computers and grading have kept me quiet this week. (Back up your data! I was glad I had when trouble hit.) I am figuring out the new book ordering procedures and getting caught up on my grading, too. I also experienced some of the fun of directing a literary event when one of last year’s authors, Hillary Jordan (her novel is Mudbound), wrote with some questions about Columbus for the new novel she’s working on. A character passes through our town, and she wanted to know the color of our grass, what flowers bloom in winter, and a few other fact-checking details. I wonder how many other Welty Symposium authors have been influenced by their visit to Columbus to include it in their work?

I remember when I was a grad student at the University of Texas at Austin, there were many Dutch and German visiting writers who lived in town. It was fun to learn what a big influence this had on Dutch literature, especially. Many more stories or poems were set in Texas than ever would have been the case without the program. Besides New York and Berkeley, Austin may be the best-known American city in the Dutch -speaking world.

You never know what will bring a place literary fame or how far the influence of one good program will spread. At the very least this literary exchange brightened up my week, and for that I was grateful.