The Intrepid Tongues team took part in a second Skype interview to meet Belgian performance poet Maud Vanhauwaert. After being introduced to her charming housemates – a rescued cat and chirpy canary – we were intrigued to find out about Maud’s poetry-writing process. Through her honesty and openness, we were privileged to gain a brief insight into her experience as a poet.
Maud’s collection Ik ben mogelijk, uses words to paint pictures. She juxtaposes seemingly disconnected images, which evoke a touching and whimsical sentiment. Maud challenges the reader to construct bridges to connect unrelated notions such as the ‘Man in Kinshasa’ and the ‘West-Vlaamse boer’. The honesty her poems present, strike a sincere and intimate chord.
Click here to listen to a short clip from our chat with Maud:
Maud brings an often closed and exclusive art form to the forefront of society through her public performances. She is compelled to bring her poetry to life and not confine her work to words on paper. In doing so, she hands over total freedom of interpretation to her audience. Maud is less interested in performing on a political podium; rather she is more concerned with the possibilities of where imagination can take us. Her collection, Ik ben mogelijk, was so named with these possibilities in mind.
We look forward to meeting Maud in person on 8th May!
In preparation of our Intrepid Tongues Event on 8 May, the Intrepid Tongues team in Sheffield conducted a Skype discussion with Johan Fretz and Marcel Harteveld (Amsterdam) on 28 March 2014. Johan Fretz’ novel Fretz 2025, which was published in 2012, took centre stage.
“Stir things up”: the novel
Fretz 2025 is set on polling day 2025. Twelve years from now, the political landscape of the Netherlands still feels very familiar: ambitions and ideals are either fettered by practical objections and cynicism or smothered in too much meaningless detail. That is until Johan Fretz decides to swap the theatre for the political arena.
Fretz, who shares more than the name with the author of the novel, enters the race to the ‘Catshuis’ with a grand narrative of unity and on the back of his skills as an orator. Idealism, community, togetherness, patriotism, Fretz brings it all back to Dutch politics. But will it bring him electoral success?
The Gebroeders Fretz are currently touring the Netherlands with their theatre performance that sprung from Fretz 2025 the novel. On 8 May they will share extracts from Johan Fretz’ political campaign.
Real political ambitions?
The relationship between art and politics remains a key concern, which dominated our discussion. The ficticious politician Johan Fretz shows considerable overlap with the author and actor Johan Fretz. So how real is this story? Will we be welcoming the future Prime Minister on 8 May?
Here is a short clip (in Dutch) from the discussion in which Johan comments on his political ambitions and on how art can be more effective than politics: ‘art is an effective way to stir things up’.
In this poetry performance by Maud Vanhauwaert, she asks passers by on the streets of Antwerpen: zullen we wachten? As Maud approaches a series of strangers, we are completely captivated by their responses to such an endearing and unassuming question. Holding only a little yellow suitcase, this upbeat and non-threatening character sweeps us away with her sincerity. Warm als een wang. The heartwarming responses from her unwitting audience are equally as charming. Both witty and touching, this little clip is definitely worth a watch!
We have a date! Our event INTREPID TONGUES will take place in London on 8th May 2014 at The Dutch Centre, Austin Friars. As students of Dutch from the University of Sheffield, our project for this semester is to organise and promote a cultural evening with performances from Dutch and Flemish artists. We will be working with cabaret duo, De Gebroeders Fretz, and finalist of the Leids Cabaretfestival, Maud Vanhauwaert as they blend the themes of art, literature and society.
We aim to investigate the relationship between art and society through a dialogue with the artists and through theoretical exploration. During our weekly group sessions, we endeavour to underpin a few key concepts and examine various attitudes and ideologies.
What are the features of postmodernism?
Is there a collective aspect to humanity which ties us all together?
What is irony?
What is the function of art in / for society?
Does literature (still) change the world?
Should artists feel responsible for society or is art simply an expression of the individual?