It is fifteen years since students Daniel Dee and Petra Else Jekel were asked to become University Poets at the University of Groningen, making them the first students in the Netherlands to be commissioned to compose poetry by a university.
This year, it is Jephta de Visser’s turn. The years between Dee, Jekel and De Visser have seen a colourful, varied group of University Poets proudly accepting the role. Other universities soon followed suit.
University Poets make their debut during the official opening of the academic year, and publish a poem every month in the university newspaper UK. In addition, they are invited to read their poetry at various venues, both in and outside the University. At the end of their term of office, a compilation of their poetry is published in a beautiful book. The experience is often enough to persuade these University Poets to become professional poets or writers.
To celebrate this, and the fifteenth anniversary, we are organizing a party in the Kappenburgsoos (the billiards basement in the Academy Building) on Friday 30 January, starting at 5 p.m. Former University Poets Ruth Koops van ’t Jagt, Sacha Landkroon, Joost Oomen and Lilian Zielstra, and Jephta de Visser will recite some of their poetry as we raise a glass to their success. Music will be provided.
The date was chosen carefully; it is the day after the elections for the new City of Groningen Poet, who will succeed Joost Oomen. Joost will also celebrate his year as City Poet, later that evening.
Would you like to know more about, or perhaps interview, one of the University Poets? If so, please contact the current University of Groningen Poet, Jeptha de Visser, on +31 (0)6 2007 8843.
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