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Music and flash fiction

by Nyk De Vries (Friesland / The Netherlands) on June 10th, 2010

My name is Nyk de Vries, and I’m one of the poets at the festival. Yesterday I practiced one more time with guitarist Fokke van der Veen for our performance at the opening of the festival this upcoming Saturday.

I’ve known Fokke since high school, where we first met. We started making music together, but after about ten years I found English too restrictive to sing in, since it is not my native language. The band stopped and I started writing prose in Dutch and Frisian, the language of Friesland, a province in the Northern part of Holland. From then on I wrote two novels, and a collection of prose poems. This flash fiction, as some call it, more or less unintentionally arose, as some sort of remnant, small sketches with a life of their own that I didn’t manage to fit into my longer prose. Slowly it came more and more to the centre of my work, in any case in terms of live performance.

Over the years I continued making music, with different groups, though not as a vocalist. Not so long ago, I started combining my prose poems with music. I’d like to refer in this case to the short-story songs of Tom Waits. At the moment I’m working on an album to be released on the Excelsior label at the end of this year. I asked Fokke to collaborate, and it feels like things from different parts of my life are starting to come together: the beat and atmosphere of the early band experience, combined with the content of writing.

Though we have occasionally played live together, we’ve never done so at an event like Poetry International. I’m very much looking forward to the festival.

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