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TNC TALK: Poetry by Nachoem Wijnberg

Wednesday 18th of April 2018

On Wednesday, April 18 the P.C. Hooftprijs 2018 award-winning Dutch poet Nachoem Wijnberg will do a TNC TALK about what poetry can do, especially in relation to the public debate about matters of great social and economic import (nod to Janis Joplin's intro to Lord, please buy me a Mercedes Benz), about how he came to use poetry in this way and how poetry should regain its crucial role in society. He will also read poems from "Of Great Importance" to show how it can be done.

Wijnberg uses poetry to think more clearly and effectively. Poetry is an instrument to gain understanding and knowledge, just like the instruments of scientific inquiry. And just like particular research tools are more suitable to address particular problems, poetry seems most suitable to address issues that have to do with how human beings live with each other in this world. And this "living with each other" does not just include traditional poetic themes like love and loss, but also living with each other in a political society and in an economy, voting, and citizenship, paying taxes, investing on the stock market, hiring and firing.
The last group of themes makes even more sense to him given that he is also an economist and professor at the University of Amsterdam Business school who is supposed to think about market processes and organizations.
His very recently published book of poetry in the U.S. "Of Great Importance" contains poems about economics, politics, and history. It is not engaged poetry as it is often understood in the sense that the poet wants to use poetry to express political opinions, the tools of poetry are being used to think about these issues, consider arguments, sometimes reaches conclusions thanks to the investigative language-work to which poetry lends itself better than any other method.

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