My contribution will consist in a reading of my long poem “Le film canoë – Dead man de Jim Jarmusch,” taken from my 2016 poetry collection Extraire published in Belgium by L’Arbre à paroles. The poem was originally written for a poetry anthology about cinematographic art in Luxemburg and later included into the collection.
There are several reasons that incited me to write this poem on the movie Dead Man, the most important being: Jim Jarmusch, who remains one of my favourite movie directors; the theme of the movie, which is the extremely brutal extermination of natural life forms by upcoming capitalism (this extermination having come to a head in recent years) and the resistance against it; and the original soundtrack by Neil Young, who remains one of my favourite songwriters and rock’n’roll band leaders, one very close in time and spirit to the Beat Generation. And, of course, there is also the almost unimaginable poetic strength of the concordance between form and content in a movie which I consider an absolute masterpiece. (I remember that after seeing the film for the first time with a friend, coming out of the cinema, we were unable to speak for half an hour.) In part, this strength is evidently due to the indirect presence of William Blake throughout the movie and to the aims of his poetry pervading its development as a whole.
To make my reading more accessible, it is at present contemplated to have my poem translated into English by the very talented American poet, translator and university professor Anna Leader. My reading will be followed by a discussion and exchange about the genesis, topicality and purpose of the poem as well as of the counterculture in general.
Tom Nisse was born in 1973 in Luxemburg and currently lives in Brussels. He has participated in many poetry readings and performances as well as organized and curated various artistic events. On top of his collaborations with artists of all disciplines, he also practises visual poetry and is a translator from both French to German and German to French. He has authored more than twenty collections of poetry and short prose and is published in France, Belgium and Luxemburg.