Poet Joost Baars will be giving a special master class for us in English on Sunday, 26 August from 17:00 – 18:30 at Boekhandel van Rossum, Beethovenstraat 32, 1077 JH Amsterdam. Reception with wine and cheese to follow—we hope you can stay and mingle.

Baars’s debut collection Binnenplaats (Enclosure) was awarded the 2018 VSB Poetry Prize, the world’s largest Dutch-language poetry prize. The jury praised his depth, mastery and unique sound. It was only the second time in the Prize’s 24-year history that a debut collection won. Baars was also a finalist for this year’s C. Buddingh’ Prize and the Herman de Coninck Prize.

His poetry has been described as hallucinatory and mystical. We’ll be looking at five of his poems that have been beautifully translated into English by Astrid Albens: In Spite of What I Tell; Theology of the Chair; Anti-Bird, Mechanical American; The Rustling in the Trees Is; and What We Started We Start. And several additional poems from English-language poets that inspired him.

We’ll be discussing poetic craft, including the art of the line-break, poetry in translation, how do you know when a poem has promise, why thinking about your reader isn’t always helpful, getting unstuck and more. There will be plenty of room for your questions and we’ll give you an exercise based on one of the poems to take home.

To get the most out of the class we recommend you read the poems, which are available online, in advance. You can also purchase the collection Binnenplaats (in Dutch) at Boekhandel van Rossum or a bookstore near you.

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