Brussels is launching a slam poetry contest for people under the age of 25, challenging them to describe in ten lines and in different languages how beautiful the Belgian capital is.
Titled the BeTalky Slam Contest, the initiative comes from Brussels minister Sven Gatz, responsible for promoting multilingualism and the image of Brussels.
“With this initiative, I want our young people to give voice to the beauty of the super diverse metropolitan city in which they grow up,” said Minister Gatz, who is also responsible for Dutch-language education in the board of the Flemish Community Commission.
“I also want to challenge them to be creative with languages – Dutch, French and English of course, but also their home languages. After all, the future of Brussels is multilingual and the format of slam poetry is in line with urban youth culture, just as rap and hip-hop are in music.”
A jury will read and judge the poems before announcing the winner, who will be invited to recite it in front of MPs in the Brussels parliament. They will also be invited to the World Slam Championship at the end of September in 2022, where they will participate with 40 other poets from across the globe.
“In a slam poem everyone’s voice is heard, everyone can express passion, drive, a clear opinion or a dominant feeling,” said Philip Meersman, chairman of the jury of the multilingual slam contest.
“From a multilingual dada poem via a surrealistic trip or a futuristic vision of Brussels, every voice is valuable, every word a step in understanding the other.”
The winning poem will be given a prominent place in parliament after the award ceremony.
Entries must be submitted no later than February 18, 2022. The winner will be announced on World Poetry Day (March 21) next year. The poems must not have previously been awarded, selected or nominated in other competitions.
More information, the rules of the poetry competition and the names of the jury members can be found at the official website (English version).