Meersman’s efforts at public poetry events are given particular attention, as in this description of a poetic action bringing awareness to the ongoing imprisonment without trial at Guantanamo.
Meersman’s preparedness to take a stand and intervene in the public arena became very apparent when he, together with Sergei Birjukov (RUS) and Peter Waugh (GB), performed “Bar None,” defined as a “poetic action” intended to agitate the public. The explicit goal of this performance was to defend universal freedom of speech, but the subtitle of the performance – “48h non-stop reading of poetry in a cage (wearing orange overalls)” – as well as the overalls worn and the cage placed on stage make the critical reference to Guantanamo explicit. The group formed by Birjukov, Waugh and Meersman defines itself as an international sound poetry collective, baptized “dastrugistenda” by the three co-founders, who see themselves as self-proclaimed DAstrugistenDA – a term that alludes to “dada” and the poetry of Richard Huelsenbeck, Tristan Tzara, Kurt Schwitters, and so on. The Dutch component “strugisten” [i.e., strugists] refers to the fact that the poetry collective was founded in Struga, Bulgaria.
Meersman’s anti-war and humanitarian stance is the backbone of his new book, This Is Belgian Chocolate. “Philip Meersman exemplifies the best of the new poetry and the new visual poetry. Endlessly inventive, creatively confrontational, eager to transgress—these qualities keep the reader perpetually off balance, which is to say perpetually alive.” —Willard Bohn, author of Reading Visual Poetry
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For more details about Philip Meersman and This Is Belgian Chocolate visit his author page here.