What’s on: A garden of poets and word acrobatics in Antwerp


Antwerp is the place to be as the Felix Poetry Festival brings in poets from around Europe and Antwerp Art Weekend sees galleries showing more than art

Peter Holvoet-Hanssen during last year’s Garden of Poets in Antwerp
Garden of Poets

Felix Poetry Festival

It’s the 10th anniversary edition of Antwerp’s big international poetry festival, which means an even more extensive programme than usual. In co-operation with the Poetry Centre in Ghent, the festival actually kicks off there with a pleidooi voor de poëzie, or plea for poetry, by local poet Charlotte Van den Broeck. It’s also a bit of a mixer, where you can hobnob with invited poets ahead of the next day’s Versopolis event in Antwerp.

Versopolis is an online platform that creates opportunities for emerging European poets and is supported by the Creative Europe programme. Several international poets will read from their work in their own language, with trasnlations in Dutch or English simultaneously projected on a screen. Other highlights of the Poetry Festival are a Garden of Poets, where several poets read in Antwerp’s botanical garden in Dutch and French, and a spoken word night with “word acrobatics” in both Dutch and English. 30 May to 15 June, across Ghent and Antwerp

Korda: Beauty and Revolution

Ghent’s Sint-Pieters Abbey has gotten itself a bit of a coup: the first exhibition of work by Alberto Díaz Gutiérrez in Belgium. The photographer is better known as Korda, but even if you still don’t recognise the name, you know his work. On 5 March, 1960, Korda took one of the most iconic images the world has ever known: a portrait of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara. Found on T-shirts, backpacks and keychains the world over, it was just one of many shots of Guevara he took when working for the Cuban newspaper Revolución. But he shot a never-ending array of other subjects, as this exhibition shows, from Havana nightlife to sultry models. Until 19 August, Sint-Pieters Abbey, Sint-Pietersplein 9, Ghent

Antwerp Art Weekend

Of course you can visit Antwerp’s zillions of art galleries anytime you want, but Antwerp Art Weekend invites you to a kind of gallery crawl, where you’ll find special exhibitions, talks and the Night of the Visual Arts at DE studio, which will keep its installations open until 1.00 and keep you there long after with electronic music and DJs. The Maurice Verbaet Center offers free guided tours of their shows, lunch on site and evening cocktails, while over at Kunsthal Extra City, you’ll get “performative” guided tours. Check out the full programme online. 25-27 May, across Antwerp

Photo: Peter Holvoet-Hanssen during last year’s Garden of Poets in Antwerp
©Antwerpen Boekenstad