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Alara Adilow

Alara Adilow - foto Erik Bolding
Alara Adilow - foto Erik Bolding

(1988) is a Dutch poet of Somali origin. Her poetry collection Mythen en stoplichten (Myths and Traffic Lights, 2022) was one of the most striking debuts of recent years. 'A daunting debut' said the jury who awarded her collection with the Herman de Coninckprijs, the most important Flemish award for Dutch language poetry. The collection is also nominated for the Grote Poëzieprijs 2023, major Dutch poetry award, for which the winner will be announced 17 May 2023. "If the body doesn't fit the language, adapt the language - I see that simple and effective reversal in Myths and Traffic Lights," wrote Obe Alkema in the Dutch national newspaper NRC. She has published poetry in Dutch literary publications, was part of the NOORDWOORD Poetry Talent Programme, is a guest writer at nY and works on her first novel. During the 2023 Winternachten Festival closing programme De grondstof van het gedicht, she read from Mythen en stoplichten and recited new work.

(WN 2023)

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  • Winternachten 2023

    De grondstof van het gedicht (The raw material of poems)

    With: Alara Adilow, Asha Karami, Caro Derkx, Dean Bowen, Irina Baldini, Johan van Dijke, Maarten van der Graaff, Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, Martin Rombouts, Marwin Vos, Maxime Garcia Diaz, Mustafa Stitou, Willie Darktrousers

    For the closing event of the 2023 Winternachten festival, poets and artists seeked out the raw material of poems. How do the violence of resource extraction, the destruction of lives and worlds, and the depletion of Earth become audible and palpable in language? What are poems made of: can they, too, plunder and harm?

    De grondstof van het gedicht (The raw material of poems) was a Dutch-language event with familiar and new voices, unexpected performances, dance, music and images.

    Anyone who opens a children's book about a farm does not see hyper-modern, destructive industry, but lovely scenes. This obfuscation of reality, according to British zoologist, author and activist George Monbiot, is due to persistent images about our dealings with animals and land, borrowed from poetry. "One of the greatest threats to life on Earth is poetry," he wrote provocatively.

    Yet the plundering of Earth has indeed made its way into modern poetry. In the poem Sinaasappel, bitter je schil (Orange, bitter your peel) by Surinamese poet Michaël Slory, the minerals themselves bear witness to that history:

    'Op Afobaka wil ik zijn
    als de arbeiders staken,
    de morgen zich boort
    in de papaya,
    het bauxiet woedend zingt
    over zoveel misbruik,
    zoveel leugens
    zoveel misleiding.'

    ("On Afobaka I want to be
    when the workers strike,
    the morning drills itself
    into the papaya,
    the bauxite sings furiously
    about so much abuse,
    so many lies
    so much deception.")

    Bookstore De Vries van Stockum will be present in the lobby with a stand offering books by participating authors of this programme, among others — including signing opportunities!

    De grondstof van het gedicht was curated by poet and writer Maarten van der Graaff.