High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands


High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

deBuren Selects Maxime Garcia Diaz for Transpoesie
© Look J Boden for the 2018 Poetry Bus
© Look J Boden for the 2018 Poetry Bus © Look J Boden for the 2018 Poetry Bus

deBuren Selects Maxime Garcia Diaz for Transpoesie

For 10 years poetry festival Transpoesie has celebrated language diversity, inspired by the European Day of Languages marked on the 26th of September every year. This year’s edition will include poets from 26 European countries and regions, sharing verses in their native languages, with translations in French, English, and Dutch. The selected poems will be displayed on posters in Brussels trams, buses and underground trains.

Flemish-Dutch House for Culture and Debate deBuren selects the Dutch entry each year. This time deBuren chose poet Maxime Garcia Diaz. Maxime won the Dutch Poetry Slam Championship in 2019. That year she also joined the writing residency with deBuren in Paris. For Transpoesie Maxime selected verses from her poetry cycle. You can read it here for the first time in English.

On 14 October Maxime Garcia Diaz can be seen virtually during one of the Transpoesie evenings. Then she will also recite the poems below.

stop living in hunger

slowly heating sweetened milk
to create a substance
similar to caramel.

The body starts to throb
with nausea beating like a carcinogenic
heart or Hollowing itself out.
Slowly filling with swelling smoke
until you feel like a bare branch reaching up
to touch a cloud, or pierce
a pitch-black hymen

hay lugares inhabitables.

(the bus drives down avenida 8 de octubre,
an old man stumbles, you pant like a sick dog,
or a pair of jeans worn by an eleven-year-old girl
who doesn’t want to go to school)

el nombre del padre
la topografía del hambre

The body is silent. The body refuses
to exhale.
It froths at the mouth. Waves beat
against the roof of the mouth: as if nobody
has ever lain in the shallows,
looked up at the clouds, and said: that is what I want to be.
That is what I want to be when it grows dark.

(the bus drives along avenida italia, somebody mumbles something
about kilocalories, skin getting hairy
to keep warm
during a self-imposed winter)

no quiero comer

You curl up like a shrimp or
curling up — something that can rot
and crumble.
You think you’re a weed, realise
that this too is a kind of narcissism.
The body starts
to cancel itself out


I want my body big enough
my royal head
scraping the sky

eating suns
then eating solar systems
then eating people
then skin, then hair, then veins
and arteries
I crunch up into seeds
for me to plant
beneath my surface.

hay lugares inhabitables.

I want my body big enough
to eat suns and vomit
them out again, to create
brand-new religions over a toilet bowl.
ha-ha watch me glamorise.
divine. five times a day.

I scoff ashes
to later unfold my feathers
to prepare
for a resurrection

quiero que mi cuerpo tiemble como la tierra
no tengo ancestros
no tengo fuente
soy una cosa perforada y no tengo sombra

I want my body life-size
like a young house, an ancient rage
an atlantic ocean. like a sun
that thinks it’s a solar system.
como una furia. como una violencia
like a body.


most of the water
in the milk
and the mix thickens.

in the summer
gentle little spiders
skitter into my mouth
they lay eggs
they explain
that they’re not like before.
those were our brothers and sisters
they say.

that was my sister too, I say
who cried like an animal.
not me
that violent myth
that birth
from the barrel of a gun

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