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Reading “Eb” with Niels Goovaerts



Poetry Lunch S3E5

Reading “Eb” by Niels Goovaerts, with Niels himself! In Dutch and English, at Druckwerkplaats Atelier t, Bierbeek, Belgium.


What an honor to have my first guest on Poetry Lunch be a poet and dear printer friend, and to read in his kitchen! After a lovely lunch and deep translation thinking.

I don’t speak any Dutch and I have no formal training with translation (or anything actually) so we worked from a translation Niels and his daughter made, which Niels and I then talked through line by line and word by word, stumbling and questioning and working clumsily to stay true to the feeling.

This idea of ebbing — coming and going, beginning and ending, always repeating, ending yet repeating — it feels difficult to speak to in English for me as well. But I know the feeling of standing at the shore’s edge and how a tide moves, as well as I know myself (I grew up three blocks from the beach). I used to feel caught a lot between coming and going. Having to choose where to be, what to hold, how to remember. Making the right decision/doing the best thing/casting ahead to build all the best possibilities.

But of course we can’t know anything ahead of us, and we can’t go behind. I find a comfort and soothing feeling from Niels’ poem and how it holds this reality with calm instead of customary modern stress.

Like good poetry, travel opens me to new ways of thinking and feeling. New possibility in the right now vs all the castles in the air I’m always building. It’s with joy and much happiness that I share this extra special first ever bilingual edition of Poetry Lunch.


No links to purchase as the poem is not in a book and the print is not for sale! But here's a link to learn more about Atelier t, and here's a link to their workshops on offer. I especially wish I could attend Poetry on the press with Thomas Gravemaker.