Events op Poetry 2019


The poetry readings by poets from all over the world together with concerts by great musicians are at the heart of the festival. Specials events take you deeper into various aspects of poetry. 

“What Happened to the Future?”

Festive opening

“What Happened to the Future?”

Th. 13 June, 20:00-21:30 - Grote Zaal
Featuring all festival poets, the Metropole Orkest & The Last Poets

On 13 June, the Metropole Orchestra – nominated for 18 Grammy Awards – will open the 50th Poetry International Festival with a literal bang. In this theatrical kick-off, the orchestra will perform unique duets with poets, including the legendary Last Poets, godfathers of hip hop and spoken word. Inspired by the festival’s theme, “What Happened to the Future?”, poets from the festival’s rich past, such as Judith Herzberg, Antjie Krog, Rita Dove, Raúl Zurita, and Tom Lanoye, will perform side by side with poets of a more recent vintage, such as Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, Koleka Putuma, Patricia Lockwood, Lieke Marsman, Frank Báez, Sayaka Osaki, Ulrike Almut Sandig, and Galina Rymboe. Whether rooted in the past or inspired by the future, their readings will festively raise the curtains on this golden-anniversary edition.

Language no problem

Louder Than a Bomb

Scholieren SLAM finale

Louder Than a Bomb

Vr. 14 juni, 11:15-12:15 - Jurriaanse zaal
Presentatie: Elten Kiene en Derek Otte
Met Dansgroep Ruff City Crew (o.l.v. Reshmay), DJ S!rene, Barguijs, Snelle, Dean Bowen en Anne van Winkelhof e.a.

In Amerika is ‘Louder Than a Bomb’ een film, een competitie, een groots slampionship voor jongeren, in Rotterdam door Poetry International getransformeerd tot een gelijknamig poëzieproject voor middelbare scholieren. Tijdens het project ontdekken scholieren hoe leuk, mooi en ontroerend poëzie kan zijn. De film laat zien hoe jongeren verkerend in verschillende moeilijke situaties met het schrijven van poëzie een manier vinden om met hun lot in het reine te komen. Met de filmbeelden vers in het geheugen gingen de scholieren onder leiding van jonge Rotterdamse dichters zelf aan de slag met thema's die ze interessant vonden en in genres die aanspraken. Sommige leerlingen dichten zelfs in meerdere talen! Tijdens het 50e Poetry International Festival staan de beste acht jonge dichters uit deze workshop in de Grote Finale van het project Louder Than a Bomb.

Aan de hand van het deskundige juryoordeel van o.a. Dean Bowen (stadsdichter Rotterdam), Anne van Winkelhof (dichter) en meegebrachte schoolgenoten moedigen ze deze acht finalisten aan om hun beste performance neer te zetten en beantwoorden met elkaar de vraag: wie mag zich de winnaar van Louder Than a Bomb noemen en de LTaB-bokaal in ontvangst nemen?

Dit is een besloten programma. 

Poetry on the Block

Flashback Friday

Poetry on the Block

Fr. 14 June, 13:30-16:00 
Featuring Charles Bernstein, Swendeline Ersilia and Ischa den Blanken 

From festival hub De Doelen, Poetry International will take you on a poetic walking tour through the heart of Rotterdam. Led by a guide from UrbanGuides, you will discover extraordinary art in public spaces and have surprising encounters with festival poets and spoken-word artists. Explore the city’s hidden stories together!

On Flashback Friday, Poetry on the Block will take you into Rotterdam’s eventful history and Poetry International’s diverse past. The poetic city tour is a journey through time, from the first traces of a small event to the accomplishments of an international poetry festival of global stature. 

Festival poet Charles Bernstein and spoken-word talents Swendeline Ersilia and Ischa den Blanken will provide their own perspectives on the past and connect it to the future.

English spoken tours available. Admission is free if you have a festival passe-partout or day pass for 14 June. De tour departs from De Doelen, Kruisplein 30, Rotterdam. 

The moving images of Poetry

A dazzeling presentation

The moving images of Poetry

All festival days continuous screening in the Film Corner of the Jurriaanse Foyer

At various moments in the history of the Poetry International Festival television was present to capture the Festival atmosphere and performances and readings by the Festival poets. From the many recordings that have been preserved, a selection has been made in which the playful, wonderful and stimulating nature of poetry is made visible against the changing images of the last decades. A journey of about 45 minutes through the history of the Poetry International Festival.

Poetry and film have been connected since the beginning of film history. Already in 1921 film makers Paul Strand and Charles Sheeler made a film based on Walt Whitman's poetry and since then poets and filmmakers have continued to find ways to collaberate. A selection of recently made films and videos that have been shown at the Poetry International Festival will be screened in the Film Corner of the Festival together with new poetry films such as Hate for Sale by Anna Eijsbouts and Threshold by Michelle Cheripka. Poetry as a film and film as poetry in a dazzling presentation.

Boekpresentatie jubileumuitgave Bas Kwakman

In Poëzie en Oorlog

Book launch Bas Kwakman

Fr. 14 June, 16:30-17:30 - Jurriaanse zaal
 Ernest van der Kwast
With Tonnus Oosterhoff, K. Schippers and Antjie Krog

For a historical perspective on 50 years of Poetry International, this juicy book launch of In poëzie en oorlog (as in: all’s fair in poetry and war) is indispensable. With his personal take on 50 years of the Poetry International Festival, Bas Kwakman provides surprising and sometimes shocking insights into the poetry world. Driven by his love of poetry but with a healthy suspicion of the human goings-on around it, he describes his experiences in this unique domain between the verse lines with warmth, humor, knowledge, and wonder. Ernest van der Kwast will interview Bas Kwakman about his book and the biggest moments in the festival’s past. Enjoy a full hour of both expected and unexpected guests and moving stories and poems.

Dutch spoken

Voordrachten uit de jubileumuitgave

Het mooiste gedicht van...

Voordrachten uit de jubileumuitgave

Vr. 14, za. 15, zo 16 juni - Jurriaanse foyer
Met Francis Broekhuijsen, Anna Enquist, Erik Jan Harmens, Ellen Deckwitz, Antoine de Kom, K. Michel, Frank Keizer, Simone Atangana Bekono, Maria Barnas en Radna Fabias

Dit vijftigjarig festivaljubileum vieren we met maar liefst drie prachtige jubileumuitgaves. Voor 'De mooiste gedichten van de wereld' doken op uitnodiging van Poetry International 50 Nederlandse en Vlaamse topdichters de schatkamers van het festival in. Daarin schuilen meesterlijke gedichten van meer dan duizend dichters, waaronder legendarische dichters die de Nobelprijs voor Literatuur op hun naam schreven. Verspreid over de drie festival dagen lezen o.a. Ellen Deckwitz, K. Schippers, Radna Fabias en Simone Atangana Bekono hun keuze uit de bundel voor op het Jurriaanse podium en vertellen Francis Broekhuijsen er ook bij wat nou net dát gedicht het mooiste, meest ontroerende of belangrijke gedicht van de afgelopen vijftig jaar maakt.

Vrijdag, 14 juni - Jurriaanse podium:
18:15 - 18:30 - Anna Enquist
18:30 - 18:45 - Erik Jan Harmens
18:45 - 19:00 - Ellen Deckwitz
19:00 - 19:15 - Antoine de Kom
20:30 - 20:45 - K. Michel

Zaterdag, 15 juni - Jurriaanse podium: 
17:15 – 17:30 - Simone Atangana Bekono
18:30 – 18:45 - Ingmar Heytze
20:00 – 20:15 - Frank Keizer

Zondag, 16 juni - Jurriaanse podium:
15:30 – 15:45 - Willem Jan Otten
16:00 – 16:15 - Maria Barnas
17:30 - 17:45 - Radna Fabias

Koop je kaartje (vr, 14, za 15 of zo 16)
De nieuwe Awater

Poets from Suriname

The new Awater is out

This program is in Dutch

Koop je kaartje
(Collective) Memory

On the importance to remember ánd to forget

(Collective) Memory

Fr. 14 June, 21:30-22:45 - Jurriaanse zaal
Clarice Gargard, Koleka Putuma, Patricia Lockwood, Raúl Zurita and Anna Enquist

Anniversaries mean looking back, contemplating the time that’s past and the moments we’ll remember forever. Memory plays a key role here, of course. Host Clarice Gargard will guide us through our shared memories through poetry, stories, music, and film. An event about individual memories, like growing up in a special family, and the collective memories of a nation after years of dictatorship. 

In this special event, Koleka Putuma will discuss her Collective Amnesia collection, and Patricia Lockwood will read from her bestselling memoir Priestdaddy. Raúl Zurita reads poems that largely deal with the repression and trauma of the Chilean dictatorship, and Anna Enquist reads poems about remembering and memory. (Collective) Memory is an intimate event about remembering, about the importance of forgetting things and that of writing them down.

English spoken

The Future is...

A leap into the future

The Future is...

Sa. 15 June, Su. 16 June – Jurriaanse Foyer
How does this rapidly changing world influence poetry? How does poetry, in turn, influence it? During the entirety of the festival, challenging conversations will be held on this topic in the Jurriaanse Foyer, featuring eye-catching poets, thinkers, and translators.

We’ll jump into the future of poetry and will think and discuss important and intriguing themes: gender norms in poetry, poetry in the digital world, and other subjects that present themselves in this complex time, in which we should examine instead of assume.

One particularly notable programme is ‘The Future is Polyphonic’, which was written especially for the festival by city poet Dean Bowen!

The Future is... Artificial 
Sa. 15 june, 19:00-19:45 
With Daan Doesborgh, Péter Závada and Sayaka Osaki

The Future is... Female
Sa. 15 june, 20:30-21:15 
With Hassnae Bouazza, Lieke Marsman, Lea Schneider and Marian Donner 

The Future is... Polyphonic
Su. 16 june, 16:30-17:15 
With Dean Bowen en Mona Kareem 

The Future is... Vertaald
Su. 16 june, 18:00-18:45 
With Mirjam van Hengel, Silvia Marijnissen and Nisrine Mbarki

Koop je kaartje (za 15 of zo 16)
Poetry on the Block

The Future is… then, later, now!

Poetry on the Block

Sa. 15 June, 13:30-16:00 
 Lieke Marsman, Mariana Hirschfeld and Kay Slice 

From festival hub De Doelen, Poetry International will take you on a poetic walking tour through the heart of Rotterdam. Led by a guide from UrbanGuides, you will discover extraordinary art in public spaces and have surprising encounters with festival poets and spoken-word artists. Explore the city’s hidden stories together!

“Mi have a droom,” a line by poet Ramsey Nasr, adorns Rotterdam’s Luchtstingel bridge. During The Future is… then, later, now! you can discover how this major port city has always been a popular laboratory for utopians, dreamers, and doers. A guide from UrbanGuides will take you past the latest buildings slated for demolition and the newest new constructions to explore what we mean by the future. In their performances, festival poet Lieke Marsman and spoken-word artists Mariana Hirschfeld and Kay Slice take on the city of tomorrow. 

English spoken tours available. Admission is free if you have a festival passe-partout or day pass for 15 June. De tour departs from De Doelen, Kruisplein 30, Rotterdam. 

Judith Herzberg meets Loes Luca

Interview (in Dutch)

Judith Herzberg meets Loes Luca

Za. 15 juni, 17:45–18:15 Jurriaanse foyer 

Op zaterdag duiken in de Jurriaanse foyer twee legendes met elkaar de diepte in. Gevierd TV- en theateractrice en Rotterdam-icoon Loes Luca, o.a. bekend van 'Ja zuster, nee zuster' en '’t Schaep met de 5 pooten' pakt de rol van interviewer op en gaat in gesprek met Judith Herzberg, al zestig jaar een van de meest geliefde dichters in de lage landen.

De twee iconen hebben samengewerkt aan meerdere theaterproducties en komen geregeld bij elkaar op de koffie. Samen zijn ze goed voor tientallen dichtbundels, theaterstukken en héél veel smakelijke anekdotes. Een bijzonder duo dat je een halfuur lang kunt aanschouwen en een exclusief boekje open doet.

Koop je kaartje
The Future Revisited

The past of the future

The Future Revisited

Sa. 15 June, 21:30-22:45 - Jurriaanse zaal
Marian Donner, James Noël, Galina Rymboe, Charles Bernstein, Vahni Calipdeo and Antjie Krog

Using images, sounds, film excepts, and the voices of poets, writers, and singers, The Future Revisited will transport you from the future’s past to poetry’s future. Writer Marian Donner explores our perspective on the notions of time and future. Poets James Noël, Galina Rymboe, Charles Bernstein, and Vahni Capildeo deliver poetry that reveals their imagined futures, shining a light on just what that unknown and undetermined time might have in store for us.

Poet Antjie Krog wrote a “mass without god” entitled “Het Nuwe Verbond” that has now been set to music by the young South African composer Antoni Schonken. While writing, Krog wondered how we can take care of our planet if we cannot even take care of each other; and how we can even do the latter if we don’t do the former? Tonight, Poetry International will present the Dutch premiere of this mass.

English spoken

Poetry Nights

Dance into the night

Poetry Nights

Fr. 14, Sa. 15 June, 22:45-02:00 - Studio
Featuring DJ DDV Tsead Bruinja, Dwayne Franklin & Daddy Jacob, Ulrike Almut Sandig & Grigory Semenchuk, Frank Báez & Bruno Ferro Xavier da Silva, DJ Kayo Chingonyi

To end a chock-full festival day, Poetry Night presents an evening (or rather, night) of laid-back musical poetry performances and other poetic presentations in De Doelen’s café, the Studio. Have a drink, discuss the day (or the future), and dance to dj’ing poets, among them DJ DDV Tsead Bruija and festival poet Kayo Chingonyi.

Friday 14 June
DJ DDV & Katja
Dwayne Franklin & Daddy Jacob

Saturday 15 June
Poet Ulrike Almut Sandig (Germany) with electro beats by Grigory Semenchuk (Ukraine)
Frank Báez (Dominican Republic) with Rotterdam-based bassist Bruno Ferro Xavier da Silva
Hip hop and afro beats by poet-DJ Kayo Chingonyi

Poetry on the Block

Proud to be a Poet

Poetry on the Block

Su. 16 June, 13:30-16:00 
Featuring Mona Kareem, Michline Plukker and KEES

From festival hub De Doelen, Poetry International will take you on a poetic walking tour through the heart of Rotterdam. Led by a guide from UrbanGuides, you will discover extraordinary art in public spaces and have surprising encounters with festival poets and spoken-word artists. Explore the city’s hidden stories together!

What does it mean to live in a city? Do all citizens, whatever their heritage, feel just as much at home in Rotterdam? Take the Proud to be a Poet tour through the city’s old west, a stone’s throw from De Doelen, where you’ll discover the art that arises in places where people from different cultural backgrounds collectively find a new home. Festival poet Mona Kareem, word artist Michline Plukker, and songwriter KEES will perform and tackle themes like migration and identity.

English spoken tours available. Admission is free if you have a festival passe-partout or day pass for 16 June. De tour departs from De Doelen, Kruisplein 30, Rotterdam. 

Uitreiking De Grote Poëzieprijs en de C. Buddingh’-prijs

'Prijs de poëzie!'

Award ceremony for De Grote Poëzieprijs and the C. Buddingh’ Prize

Su. 16 June, 19:30-21:00 - Jurriaanse zaal
Featuring Maria Barnas, Joost Decorte, Radna Fabias, Roelof ten Napel, Willem Jan Otten, Xavier Roelens, Obe Alkema, Gerda Blees, Roberta Petzoldt and A-WA

After all the international poetry intensity, it’s time to celebrate the finest in Dutch-language poetry with the ceremony awarding De Grote Poëzie Prijs for the best poetry collection and the C. Buddingh’ Prize for the year’s best poetry debut. Prijs de poëzie! thus showcases the strongest contemporary poetry in the Lowlands. Host Francis Broekhuijsen introduces the poets, who of course will read from their nominated collections. Nominated for De Grote Poëzieprijs are Maria Barnas, Joost Decorte, Radna Fabias, Roelof ten Napel, Willem Jan Otten, and Xavier Roelens. The four contenders for the C. Buddingh’ Prize are Obe Alkema, Gerda Blees, that same Roelof ten Napel, and Roberta Petzoldt.

In workshops organized by the School der Poëzie, local high-school students were inspired by the poets nominated for De Grote Poëzie Prijs. Tonight, they will perform their own creations and award a special youth prize. Before the exciting reveal, you’ll also hear from A-WA, the three Israeli sisters whose “Habib Galbi” was a hit around the world, a mix of traditional Yemeni music, hip hop, and electro. And then, the deciding moment: who wrote the best collection, who the best debut? Jury members Yra van Dijk and Els Moors have the honor of revealing all.

In Dutch

koop je kaartje
POETRY PARK is terug

Poetry and music for all!


De Nieuwe Lichting & Poetry International 
Su. 16 June, 16:00-22:30 - Schouwburgplein

Sunshine, good vibes, food & drinks in open air at the heart of the city. POETRY PARK is back with poets from home and abroad, bands, open mic. and sunny food. A big hand to the poets Derek Otte, Kayo Chingonyi en Ulrike Almut Sandig, bands such as KUZKO, Beau Zwart and headliner Lucky Fonz III!!! Holy Smoke! (takes care of you with juicy burgers and salads).

16:00 / 17:00 - Open Mic
17:15 / 17:30 - Frino
17:30 / 17:40 - Kayo Chingonyi
18:00 / 18:45 - Dwayne Franklin & Daddy Jacob
18:45 / 19:00 - Ulrike Almut Sandig
19:30 / 20:00 - Beau Zwart
21:00 / 21:10 - Derek Otte
21:15 / 22:00 - Lucky Fonz III
22:15 / 22:45 - Kuzko

If you wish to perform on the Open (Poetry) Stage, send word to

Show that you'll go


The 50th Poetry International Festival will kick-off on 13 June in the Main Auditorium of de Doelen. On 14, 15 and 16 June most events will take place in or around the Jurriaanse zaal. De Doelen is situated within walking distance of Rotterdam Central Station

Entrance Main Auditorium – Schouwburgplein 50, Rotterdam
Entrance Jurriaanse zaal – Kruisplein 30, Rotterdam


Nederlands Letterenfonds
Gemeente Rotterdam
Droom en Daad
Lira Fonds
Stichting Dioraphte
Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds
Rotterdam Festivals

Ludo Pieters Gastschrijversfonds   /   Volkskracht   /   Erasmusstichting   /   G. Ph. Verhagen-Stichting   /   Maatschappij tot Nut van't Algemeen   /   Stichting verzameling van Wijngaarden-Boot   /   We Jansenfonds