A train moves freely on its way and crosses borders without being noticed. As does the train from Ostend to Eupen, which crosses Belgium and its different linguistic communities and regions. The poet Carl Norac will write aboard this train about the others and his country, as closely as possible.
An ink train, with no visible border, a journey and a sharing to express the other on the edge of its path…- Carl Norac
Carl Norac doesn’t write at home; he writes in cafes, on public benches and on public transport. But his favourite place remains the train when, as he puts it: “the line of the landscape becomes the line of writing”. There is also the desire for the poem itself to be
moving, to be born among other faces.
EUROPALIA TRAINS & TRACKS, in collaboration with Midis de la Poésie, invites Carl Norac for
a residency on the Ostend-Eupen line, the only line that crosses the entire country. From the friendship of waves (Carl Norac lives in Ostend) to the German border, he will write poems on board this train in an attempt to express the country of which he is poet laureate for two years. In this way, he continues a literary project that began in the 1980s in India: to speak of the other, the passer-by, the traveller, the landscape and as it were, to attempt to reveal, to “photograph” using language.
Beyond these observations, the poet engages in conversations with unknown people. The train is conducive to encounters and sometimes, important life stories are told and shared before a furtive gesture of the hand on a platform. Carl Norac’s carriage may also be
transformed into a place for reading: poetry simultaneously implies movement, escape, travel, stopovers.
Carl Norac wants to take time: sometimes speeding up, often slowing down. During these three hours of crossing the country, he wonders about time, its detours, mad rushes, its
expectations, suspense, light, shadows, and also its collections of moments. “We think we are going on a journey but soon it’s the journey that makes or breaks us,” says the travel writer Nicolas Bouvier. These words will guide the poet throughout the two months he will spend in his moving studio.
The poet will keep a diary of his travels on social media so that those who wish to, can accompany him in their own way to the edge of the track, exchanging memories of a day, a train, like in André Delvaux’s film Un soir, un train.
The residency will end with a special evening organised by Midis de la Poésie.