A funny poem and a poor translation

Poetry is not something I consume a lot of. Since it’s so personal, I think you have to invest some time to find the poets/poems that speak to you, or it’s just a waste of time. I’ve raved about Warsan Shire before, and recently read salt., which was also wonderful. But apart from that… meh. I know I should give Emily Dickinson a try, but haven’t yet.

This past weekend I still ended up at a poetry recital. Someone I know was releasing new collections of their poems, and more people were reading. And one of them made me laugh! It’s the first time this happened, so I’m quite excited about it and wanted to share the poem. The problem is, it’s in Dutch. If you’re sensitive to poor translations I suggest you stop reading now, because I will attempt it here.


“DICHTERSRECEPT” by Fiet van Beek

Visit the library
in a medium sized town
a small one is also fine
ask for poetry
or look at eight-hundred something*
count the number of poetry collections
look for your own name.

Since you’re there anyway
walk on to the local bookstore
inquire if they have the book
that you wrote
and where the poems are.

Repeat this as many times
as there are bookstores
in that place.

Go home
write a poem
about under-appreciated talent;
those are the best.

* I assumed this concerns library classification numbering, but I’m not entirely sure…

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