And naturally thank heavens for the blackbird
that in moments gone astray
between the front door and the post-box
shamelessly colours in its gait
to the newspaper, to the day. It doesn’t sing,
at too close quarters it glories in
whatever it has on its chest.
With dedication difficult to grasp,
not of this world, such presence,
such delight, in its perfect dialect.
When the sudden end of seasons
seems unbearably hard to manage
in the light, the air, the white weight
when we fail to grasp the revolving
tread of these toilsome days,
then we should know that everything
is yet to begin. Of this it sings.
No night could match this,
no sound be added.
From: Max Temmerman, Almost an America (Bijna een Amerika; Antwerp: Vrijdag, 2013). Translation by Willem Groenewegen
Notes from Judith Dekker
Max Temmerman’s poems and my images are related in a way. They both show the small movements, moments and objects, and try to slow down around them. All the images for this one are shot at a time I had to say goodbye to one home and move to another. They are glimpses from both homes. The soundtrack is made by multi-instrumentalist Jon Birdsong.
Judith Dekker originally trained as a photographer. The poetic style of her pictures brought her to written poems. She has had exhibitions with Ramsey Nasr (NL) and various poets in the Lonely Funeral project, worked for Antwerpen Boekenstad, has had residencys, and much more. In 2013 she first dared to make film, translating her photography style to moving images and is now working with an international selection of poets and musicians.
Besides filmpoems she has been a poetic VJ for Felix Poetry Festival in Antwerp, Belgium and projected images during the poets performances. Besides some touring photography exhibitions she created some music video’s for various composers. In 2014 the editors of literary magazine Deus Ex Machina asked her to curate their upcoming filmpoem album. This exciting opportunity led to an interesting blend of filmmakers with a very diverse styles.
For the future there are plans for more filmpoems, more photography and the building of a new website that can showcase all facets of her work.
His Belgian poetry debut ‘Vaderland’ (2011), was nominated for the C. Buddingh award in 2012. In October 2013 his second book ‘Bijna een Amerika’ was published. This poetry collection received the Herman de Coninck audience award and was nominates for Jo Peeters Poëzieprijs in 2014 and the J.C. Bloem Award in 2015.
‘Bijna een Amerika’ is more than a haunting collection of loss, it transends a highly personal experience of being knocked down and getting up off the floor again. “What struck me mostly is the dignified waiting, love for what is left behind and then the quiet shining” —Annelies Verbeke
In 2015, Max released his 3rd collection ‘Zondag acht dagen’. He also writes for the Lonely Funeral project in Antwerpen. Temmerman’s subjects are universal and of the every day, but coloured and shaped by his characteristic voice and style.