Entries tagged with history

It is forty years since the Fall of Saigon, and the first event I record, in my lead piece in volume 2 of The Grand Piano, recalls my activities on that day. I hope it still means something to put this out there:


On 1 May 1975, I attended a public meeting of a communist organization. The Fall of Saigon, of course, did not simply coincide with that date; it had been taking place for weeks. The meeting was in a rented hall on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland. Two million people, according to mass media, had been forced to evacuate Phnom Penh. The speaker interpreted this report in a positive light: Khmer Rouge authorities were only trying to prevent disease and panic. Half the people in the room read revolutionary newspapers as the speaker addressed them, while the other half listened attentively. He went on: now is the time the movement for revolutionary change must commence. There can be no going back. By next year the organization’s size must double. We have a simple choice before us.
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Selections from Slechte Geschiedinis (Bad History), trans. Samuel Vriezen, Parmentier 19, no. 1, special issue on “Documentaire poëzie” (Documentary Poetics; March 2010), 48-56.


De eerste Parmentier van dit jaar staat grotendeels in het teken van hedendaagse ‘documentaire poëzie’ uit Amerika. Documentaire poëzie is poëzie die zich nadrukkelijk presenteert als een vorm van documentatie en zich plaatst te midden van allerhande nieuwsfeiten, historische gebeurtenissen en situaties. In het door hen samengestelde en ingeleide dossier laten Arnoud van Adrichem, Frank Keizer en Samuel Vriezen zien wat er gebeurt wanneer documentaire vormen als krantenberichten, wetteksten en beleidsrapporten onderdak krijgen in de poëzie.

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