Final Year students of Dutch read Bart Moeyaert
These are only three of the many questions that were posed when our Final Year students of Dutch threw themselves into poetry. Involving literary texts, including poetry, in addition to newspaper articles, letters, opinion pieces is a deliberate strategy at Sheffield. We believe that Dutch language should always be studied in its cultural context. It makes language study more relevant, more real and above all, more fun.
Despite poetry not really being my thing, I really enjoyed the classes looking at Moeyaert’s poems. It was interesting to discover the double meanings and to hear other people’s interpretations. Getting into poetry written in Dutch has given me a valuable insight into the language and culture I’m studying.
Love (of) Poetry
Over the past few weeks, Final Year students of Dutch explored a selection of poems from Verzamel de liefde (Gather the Love) a collection by the Belgian writer Bart Moeyaert. Moeyaert is a multiple award-winning and widely translated contemporary Flemish poet. Filip De Ceuster, who led the sessions, reported that while some students initially felt that poetry was only for the "refined of taste”, it became abundantly clear that students have developed a fine sensitivity for the Dutch language over the past three and a half years. Not only did they enjoy the poems as “an experience beyond thought”, they have acquired the necessary tools to analyse form, meaning, and the ambiguities of poetic Dutch. This is a real tribute to our language programme but, above all, to our students!
I thoroughly enjoy poetry, and the chance to be able to analyse works from poets such as Moeyaert has been really rewarding. Poetry is such an interesting medium to study with regards to expanding vocabulary and refining my own writing. Poetry can be seen by some as a refined taste, but regardless of personal preference, analysing poetry in class made for a refreshing and intellectually stimulating exercise.
Three of our students, Dominic Manley, Jade Metcalfe and Matthew Prestage read the poem 'Klein' from Verzamel de liefde.
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