The basic concept is the same, really. Four poets sitting around a table, conveiing a "close but not too close" (a spot on, but for us untranslatable phrase) reading of one single poem. The most important differences are that we focus on new poems, that we do not have any archive (or production budget) and most importantly that the world of Dutch poetry and poetry-critique is so different from the one (or ones) in the USA. The insistence on the act of reading of text, the open way of reading a poem, the diversity of the conversation, the searching, the natural involvement of politics, and the focus on contents instead of reputation - all these things seem to come natural to a lot of poetics in the USA, but they are sometimes hard to come by in the Netherlands.
PoemTalk is I think therefore a kind of an underground hit in the Dutch poetry scene. And it is certainly therefore that we decided the Dutch poetry scene needs something like poemtalk. So that's why we're making VersSpreken right now.
verspreken, the Dutch PoemTalk
This morning we received a wonderful note from Joost Baars and Matthijs Ponte about a new Dutch version of PoemTalk. Episode number 1 was released on November 23 (yesterday): http://www.versspreken.nl/. They write: