Conclusion – Arcadia

Arcadia, paradise of innocence and peace

During the concluding programme Arcadia, paradise of innocence and peace, poets will read their poem about an ideal landscape, and will discuss their personal Arcadia with the poets Jan Baeke and Tsead Bruinja.

What effect with the enormous degree of urbanisation have on the poetry of tomorrow? Over two thousand years ago, pastoral poetry appeared for the first time, written by ‘Theocritus’. He had left the countryside for the city and wrote about the idyllic landscape of his childhood years – a landscape in which he allowed love-stricken shepherds and shepherdesses to disport themselves.

Inspired by Theocritus, Vergil (a man banished from his own country) was the first to write pastoral poetry situated in Arcadia – a paradise-like land of innocence and peace. In actual fact, this part of the Peloponnese was a highly isolated, rough area of countryside where a love of music was the only indication of civilisation in an otherwise primitive population. A century ago, the poet Geert Gossaert (originally from Rotterdam) seemed in his experiments to understand this only too well. In his poem ‘Surgit Nox’, the poet flees the city, but what he meets outside it is hardly promising: ‘Fear falls upon me, fear accompanies me along my lonely path.’ In Vergil, there are still sheep grazing on the sun-drenched meadow, where the flowers bloom and the shepherds happily sing and play their pipes. Is this what we also can expect of the poets of tomorrow? A poetry where the countryside is only described as an idealised memory? Or will they not dare leave the limits of the city?

Presentation: Jan Baeke and Tsead Bruinja.

Those participating include William Cliff (Belgium), Andrea Gibellini (Italy), Robert Gray (Australia), Peter van Lier (Netherlands), Miriam Van Hee (Belgium) and Szabolcs Várady (Hungary).

  • Friday 13 June, Main Hall

09. Jean-Pierr Jan - Hollandse Hoogte.jpg
 Jean-Pierre Jan/Hollandse Hoogte

39e Poetry International Festival