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Maarten van der Graaff

Maarten van der Graaff - foto Bianca Sistermans_Beeldunie
Maarten van der Graaff - foto Bianca Sistermans_Beeldunie

(The Netherlands, 1987) debuted in 2013 with Vluchtautogedichten (Getaway Car Poems), which won the C. Buddingh' Prize. The jury praised his "boasting, swagger, and bravado." Van der Graaff escapes everyday reality in his very own getaway car — namely poetry — looking for new dimensions. His second volume Dood werk (Dead Work, 2015) won the J.C. Bloem Prize. He publishes poetry and prose in various magazines, performs regularly, and is editor and co-founder of the online literary magazine Samplekanon. His first novel Wormen en engelen (Worms and Angels, 2017) is a contemporary quest for the meaning of faith. In 2020 he published the poetry collection Nederland in stukken (The Netherlands in Pieces), followed by his second novel Onder asfalt (Under Asphalt, 2022).


Archive available for: Maarten van der Graaff

  • Writers Unlimited 2024 – Saturday Night Unlimited

    Garbage In, Garbage Out: Poetry event

    Is the lyrical voice a chatbot confidently making statements based on an outdated dataset?

    Maarten van der Graaff, who curated Garbage In, Garbage Out, asked these poets to listen carefully to chatbots skimming the Internet to answer our questions. What does the tone of chatbots forging all that information into sentences mean for poetry?

    What is the role of the body in writing, reading and listening to poetry? Who or what do you actually hear when listening to a poem: an intimate voice, or a cacophony? Can the poem be a garbage collector?

    Garbage In, Garbage Out is an event featuring both formerly published poetry as well as work newly written for the occasion by and with Ronelda Kamfer, Simone Atangana Bekono, Astrid Lampe, Dewi de Nijs Bik and (via a previously recorded video presentation) Zheng Xiaoqiong.

  • Winternachten 2023

    De grondstof van het gedicht (The raw material of poems)

    With: Alara Adilow, Asha Karami, Caro Derkx, Dean Bowen, Irina Baldini, Johan van Dijke, Maarten van der Graaff, Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, Martin Rombouts, Marwin Vos, Maxime Garcia Diaz, Mustafa Stitou, Willie Darktrousers

    For the closing event of the 2023 Winternachten festival, poets and artists seeked out the raw material of poems. How do the violence of resource extraction, the destruction of lives and worlds, and the depletion of Earth become audible and palpable in language? What are poems made of: can they, too, plunder and harm?

    De grondstof van het gedicht (The raw material of poems) was a Dutch-language event with familiar and new voices, unexpected performances, dance, music and images.

    Anyone who opens a children's book about a farm does not see hyper-modern, destructive industry, but lovely scenes. This obfuscation of reality, according to British zoologist, author and activist George Monbiot, is due to persistent images about our dealings with animals and land, borrowed from poetry. "One of the greatest threats to life on Earth is poetry," he wrote provocatively.

    Yet the plundering of Earth has indeed made its way into modern poetry. In the poem Sinaasappel, bitter je schil (Orange, bitter your peel) by Surinamese poet Michaël Slory, the minerals themselves bear witness to that history:

    'Op Afobaka wil ik zijn
    als de arbeiders staken,
    de morgen zich boort
    in de papaya,
    het bauxiet woedend zingt
    over zoveel misbruik,
    zoveel leugens
    zoveel misleiding.'

    ("On Afobaka I want to be
    when the workers strike,
    the morning drills itself
    into the papaya,
    the bauxite sings furiously
    about so much abuse,
    so many lies
    so much deception.")

    Bookstore De Vries van Stockum will be present in the lobby with a stand offering books by participating authors of this programme, among others — including signing opportunities!

    De grondstof van het gedicht was curated by poet and writer Maarten van der Graaff.

  • Winternachten 2020 – Friday Night Unlimited

    Dreaming Pays Off: the poetry of Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer

    Pfeijffers' masterful use of language and inventive style - both daring and humorous - invite an interesting discussion about his poetic oevre. Of course he will also present his own work.

    In 1998 he won the C. Buddingh Prize for his poetry collection Van de vierkante man (Of the Square Man). His collection Idyllen (Idylls) won the 2015 Jan Campert Prize and the Awater Poetry Prize.

    Pfeijffer is also the editor of the anthology 500 gedichten die iedereen gelezen moet hebben (500 Poems Everyone Should Read, 2008, co-edited by Gert Jan de Vries), Er is alles in de wereld/Lucebert (There is Everything in the World/Lucebert, 2009) and De Nederlandse poezie van de twintigste en de eenentwintigste eeuw in duizend en enige gedichten (Dutch Poetry from the 20th and 21st Century in a Thousand and Some Poems, 2016).

    Tip: Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer and his novel Grand Hotel Europa will be the focus of the "Europe on the Couch" event on Thursday, 15 January at Theater aan het Spui. Playing the role of Europa, Pfeijffer will be interrogated by psychiatrist Damiaan Denys.

  • Winternachten 2019 – Friday Night Unlimited

    Artificial ignorance: Digital Failure

    In order to protect ourselves, Radbout professor Martha Larson pleads for artificial ignorance: some data must be deliberately overlooked in IT. Eight authors made Larson's idea the starting point of their performance. They looked at technology in a different, creative way. What does technology reveal about its inventor? Also, the smart thermostat, the pacemaker and Google Maps may help us, but do they also define us? And what is the value of a digital error or failure?

  • Winternachten 2019 – Saturday Night Unlimited

    Myths as Identity Arena

    Old myths about the origins of peoples and about the roots of cultures and conflicts continue to influence us in how we relate to the other and to the here and now. Indian mythologist Arshia Sattar, Ugandan novelist Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi and writer and poet Maarten van der Graaff discussed myths as identity arena. Political scientist and writer Wytske Versteeg lead the conversation. Poet Rodaan Al Galidi concluded the programme with a recitation of his own work.

  • Winternachten 2018

    VPRO's OVT Live

    With: David Van Reybrouck, Ernst Reijseger, Jos Palm, Karwan Fatah-Black, Louise O. Fresco, Maarten van der Graaff, Madelon de Keizer, Nelleke Noordervliet, Paul van der Gaag, Rodaan Al Galidi, Wim Berkelaar

    Every Sunday morning, the topicality of history is the focus of one of the most popular radio programs in the Netherlands. Sunday morning 21 January 2018 OVT was broadcast, as usual, live from Winternachten festival in Theater aan het Spui.

    Writers from the Winternachten Festival, such as Louise O. Fresco and David Van Reybrouck, joined the live broadcast for interviews and discussion; famous musician Ernst Reijseger performed on cello. Further guests were Karwan Fatah Black, Madelon Keijzer, Nelleke Noorderliet and Wim Berkelaar. Hosts: Paul van der Gaag en Jos Palm. Program in Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2018

    Closer to Poets - Speakers' Corner Haagse Hogeschool

    With: Efe Murad, Ghayath Almadhoun, Hassnae Bouazza, Maarten van der Graaff, Sanam Sheriff

    The 23rd Winternachten international literature festival-edition took place from Thursday 18 January up till and including Sunday 21 January. Over 80 writers, poets and musicians from The Netherlands and abroad this time not only came to festival locations Theater aan het Spui and Filmhuis Den Haag, but will also visit schools and perform in The Hague neighbourhoods.

    The festival, known for its scintillating mix of declamation, readings, conversations about topical subjects, musical performances and film programme, has no less then eight locations this edition. From 18-21 January, central festival locations are Theater aan het Spui and Filmhuis Den Haag.

    Additionally, the festival presents free entry writers' performances at the Speakers' Corner of the Haagse Hogeschoo, at the International Institute of Social Studies, at Theater Dakota, at public library Schilderswijk and public library Nieuw Waldeck.

    The Lighthouse, centre for debate, culture and innovation of the Haagse Hogeschool and Winternachten festival present, Thursday 18 January, at the Speakers' Corner the programme 'Dichterbij Dichters' (Close up to Poets) featuring poetry-slam talent Sanam Sheriff from India, poets Efe Murad (Turkey) and Ghayath Almadhoun (Sweden), and writer-poet Maarten van der Graaff from the Netherlands: Writers Unlimited introduces a new international literary generation. Participants read from their own work and Hassnae Bouazza discusses the expressiveness of poetry with the poets and the public.

  • Winternachten 2018 – Friday Night Unlimited

    Writing poetry in Dunglish and other languages

    How can literature challenge language? Besides Mandarin and Spanish, English is the most-spoken language in the world. It is a language of power, of mass culture, of imperialism and domination, but also a language expressing solidarity, activism and understanding, in which the underpinnings of power can be attacked: a language of the majority full of minority languages.

    What is the role of English in the poetry being written in the Netherlands and Belgium? Writers Unlimited put this question to seven young poets writing in English, in Dutch, in Dutch as well as English, who write multilingual poetry, who live in the Netherlands and Belgium, who were born 'here' or not.

    What is the status of English in their poetry? Each has written a new poem especially for the festival: Veva Leye, Dean Bowen, Samira Saleh, Mia You en Caglar Koseoglu; also Joost Baars and Charlotte Van den Broeck, both nominated for the VSB Poetry Prize 2018, take part and react with their work. The VSB Poetry Prize 2018 will be awarded shortly after the Festival, on Thursday, 25 January, at the Diligentia Theatre in The Hague.

  • Winternachten 2017 – Saturday Night Unlimited

    Saturday Night Wintercafé: Spot on Young Poets

    Francis Broekhuijsen presents students of Hague high schools reading their own poetry, the result of workshops led by members of the Hague Poets' Guild. Young poet and 2014 C. Buddingh Prize winner Maarten van der Graaff and British poet and performer Salena Godden keep them company. During each Spot on Young Poets event (Friday and Saturday), one finalist for the Young Campert Prize will be chosen. Both finalists will read their poems during Sunday's Writers' Festival event, ahead of the award ceremony of the Jan Campert Foundation prizes. The public will choose one of them as the winner of this new prize for best Hague student poet. Come down and witness the literary future! Dutch spoken

  • Winternachten 2017 – Saturday Night Unlimited

    My Secret City

    Can the secrets of a city — a collection of microcosms, a collection of past and layered histories — ever be completely and commonly uncovered? The festival asked seven authors to write about their own "secret" cities. Not the city that they see when they walk out the door and onto the street, but the city that they occasionally and unexpectedly come across. Participants read in their own language, with English and Dutch translations projected simultaneously.

  • Winternachten 2017 – Friday Night Unlimited

    The Secret Space - Poetry

    Within De verborgen ruimte (The Secret Space), the map is newly read and drawn by nine poets. Which sounds and tones belong in it, what has not yet been said, and what is continually misunderstood? Who is on the sidelines or smack in the centre? The Secret Space could be in suburbia, in a body, in a factory farm, or in an addictions clinic. This has consequences - whoever peeks into the secret space loses a number of his or her certainties. When the map is redrawn, no one finds their way home.

    The "VSB Poetry Prize on Tour" forms part of The Secret Space - among the performing poets are the authors of three volumes nominated for the VSB Poetry Prize: Kwaadgesternte (Born Under a Bad Sign) by Hannah van Binsbergen, Lichtmeters by Ruth Lasters and Koelkastlicht (Refrigerator Light) by Rodaan Al Galidi. In addition, Marieke Rijneveld, Dominique de Groen, Mira Feticu, Obe Alkema, Simone Atangana Bekono and Ton van 't Hof will read from their work. The Secret Space is organized and presented by the poet Maarten van der Graaff, winner of the C.Buddingh' Award 2014 for his debut collection Vluchtautogedichten (Getaway Car Poems). Programme in Dutch

  • Winternachten 2015 – SATURDAY NIGHT UNLIMITED

    Saturday Night Wintercafé: Who's Afraid of Youth

    During this first hour, MC Francis Broekhuijsen presents students from the Hague secondary schools reading their poems, the outcome of a series of school workshops. They perform with poet Maarten van der Graaff.