ZUTPHEN – Councilor for culture Sjoerd Wannet has appointed Wolfram Reisiger as the new city poet in Zutphen municipality on Monday evening, January 9 in Café de Deur. Reisiger has been appointed for a period of two years and has been nominated by Zutphens Litteraturfond.
By Emy Vesseur
Wolfram Reisiger was installed as Zutphen’s new city poet during a friendly New Year’s reception by the Zutphen Literair Foundation in café De Deur. After two years without an official city poet, Wolfram Reisiger is the ninth city poet in Zutphen.
Culture councilor Sjoerd Wannet, who carried out the appointment, is delighted: “Stories are important and determine who we are. At the same time, people are reading less and less and reading skills are also declining. Literature and poetry must therefore not only be something for a small group of enthusiasts, but for everyone. A city poet always connects with his poems to current events in our municipality and makes poetry accessible to everyone.”
New kind of urban poet
Wolfram Reisiger has been nominated as city poet by Zutphen’s Literary Foundation, which organizes literary activities in Zutphen on behalf of the municipality, including the biennial awarding of the Ida Gerhardt Poesipris and Martinetrede. The poem Tørke, which Reisiger wrote last summer as a poem at the request of Zutphen Literair, was the decisive factor.
Chairman August Hans den Boef: ‘With Wolfram Reisiger, we are opening the door for a new kind of urban poet, and Zutphen can look forward to a good two years. In addition to being a lyricist, he is a theater maker, composer and musician with the necessary stage experience. He knows how to touch a wide audience with his lyrics and with humor and mild derision he comments on current events.”
The installation was enhanced by two special guests. The city poet in Deventer, Alied van der Meer, performed a poem written for the occasion, in which she wishes Wolfram Reisiger as ‘astronaut in the universe of language’ a good journey.
Then the writer and poet HC ten Berge, who lives in Zutphen, read some of his poems as a ‘mystery guest’. The dark brown voice of this 84-year-old literary great, winner of the PC Hooft Prize and the Contantijn Huygens Prize, left a deep impression. The brand new urban poet brought his own fresh sound around him: cheerful poems and songs, set to music on the keyboard he brought with him or singing together with his musical partner Rina Rispens and the audience present.
Who is Wolfram Reisiger?
Wolfram Reisiger, the new urban poet in Zutphen, is a creative centipede. In addition to being a lyricist, he is a theater maker, composer and musician. “Essentially, I am a researcher. I like to do things I’ve never done before.” Reisiger was born in Germany, so Dutch is his second language. His origins can be heard in a charming way when he speaks and can be heard in his lyrics. “I grew up in Cologne, a city of clowns and carnival. Naked vice, I like it. I’m a big fan of Dr. Poems of P and Annie MG Schmidt. My own lyrics and songs are not just good or serious, but always with a joke or double meaning.”
Reisiger studied school music at the conservatory in Utrecht and plays piano, accordion and bassoon. In Utrecht he also met his wife Charlotte and was active as a musician in the cultural scene. After the family moved to Zutphen in 2008, he started to establish initiatives himself: De Bijentuin Braamkamp, Cafe Chantant, various festivals, Aftenerne and later Witte Raaf. “In 15 years, I have gone through a huge development, and in addition to making music, I also started presenting, singing, performing and writing lyrics.” He now makes theater performances about the past under the name Heden Gesloten. Last October he played the role of a priest in the play Disaster and Resilience, for which he wrote the heart-wrenching Spoorless, inspired by a letter found in the 16th century. In addition, he organizes house concerts in his current hometown of Almen, where the audience not only makes music, but also helps with nutcrackers.
The Zutphen song
What can we expect from him as Zutphen’s urban poet? “In addition to poems, of course I also want to make songs and music. As an urban poet, I thus join a tradition that goes back to the Middle Ages. Part of my task is to be visible in Zutphen’s neighbourhoods. I think it would be fun to organize Dag van het Zutphenlied again, which I started in 2012, per district.”