The Writer’s Block: An Interview with Erik Jan Harmens

by    /  May 22, 2012  / No comments

The Writer’s Block is an ongoing video series of interviews with visiting writers at City of Asylum/Pittsburgh. In these Q&A’s, conducted on Sampsonia Way, writers sit down with us to discuss literature, their craft, and career. View all previous interviews here.

Poet Erik Jan Harmens at City of Asylum's Burma House. Photo: Laura Mustio

Erik Jan Harmens is a novelist, poet and performer. In 2002 he was crowned the first Dutch National Poetry Slam champion. In 2003 he published his first collection of poetry In menigten (‘In crowds’). The English language played an important role in his 2005 collection Underperformer which was awarded numerous Dutch poetry honors, followed by Gospels en Psalmen in 2008. His first novel Kleine doorschijnende man (‘Little Transparent Man’) was published in 2007. His second novel and fourth collection of poems will be published in 2012. In his writing Harmens has dealt with the theme of love as well as terrorism.

On April 17th Harmens talked with us on Sampsonia Way’s block. This street on Pittsburgh’s North Side is where City of Asylum/Pittsburgh has a row of houses for writers in exile, all of which are adorned with original artwork.

Harmens appears in front of the Pittsburgh-Burma House, which was designed by Burmese artist Than Htay Maung.

Harmens and other Dutch poets came to Pittsburgh by invitation of City of Asylum Pittsburgh. The event was presented in collaboration with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s “Distinctively Dutch” festival, the Consulate General of the Netherlands, the Dutch Foundation for Literature, Kleine Revolutie Producties, and Lira.

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