Martin Solotruk Reflects on His Attendance at the Felix Poetry Festival in Antwerp

The pleasant Versopolis project invitation to Belgium for Martin Solotruk involved too different locations, each exceptional in its own way. As the author noted, the art of poetry enjoys a special place in Ghent in several senses: "The first venue, the Centre of Poetry in Ghent, exceeded my expectations for more than one reason. It was not just the spell and magic of the medieval old town, which was amongst the first in Europe to introduce modern citizenry, but the centre of poetry itself, seated in the house of Skinmakers guild that shows how poetry is valued by the municipality and the cultural public...

...The three floor building proudly sitting on the most prestigious market square houses poetry archives of the Dutch speaking world, above all, but at the same time displays to broad public the most remarkable highlights of the experimental traditions turning poetry into artefacts and anything from ordinary objects to artefacts into poetry, in the space framed by the original beams construction of the early 17th century."

Having enjoyed an informative guided tour of the Poetry Centre and the old town of Ghent, provided by the highly charming and professional team of Sieglinde Vanhaezebrouck and Stefaan Goossens, the Slovak poet was brought by train to the nearby city of Antwerp to perform at the Felix Poetry Festival there.

Martin Solotruk, Felix International Poetry Festival 2015, Antwerpen

Bringing together for the Versopolis night five different European voices to the city of diamonds, and having them introduced by a leading literary journalist of the Dutch speaking world Jeele van Riet, who was an embellishment of the evening, the festival seemed to have captured attention of the public pulled by the prospect of poetry to the just freshly revitalised neighbourhood of the former abandoned stockyards.

Nicely and neatly executed chapbooks, featuring poetry of the five Versopolis poets at Felix festival in both original, Dutch and English translations, as well as professionally done video on site flash interviews with them only added to the success of the Versopolis presence in Belgium.

"Thank you Ghent and Antwerp, thanks a lot to all organisers there for the very pleasant and culturally rich experience..." these were the words of Martin Solotruk rounding up his perception of the Versopolis Belgian enterprise.