Frequently asked questions

Are The Poets from Epibreren a poetry collective?
No, definitely not. We're made up of one musician and two poets. The poems are written separately. Furthermore, we hate (that's putting it mildly) the word 'collective'. If you really must pigeonhole us, then brand us as a 'poetry and music group'.

Are the poems by The Poets from Epibreren written especially for performances?
Again, no. Only when the poems are 'finished', is the decision made to publish and/or perform them, or not as the case may be. Initially, we write poetry (well, two of us do). Where or how we bring them to light depends on many different issues.

What does 'Epibreren' mean?
'Epibreren' with a capital 'E' refers to an island in the Wadden Sea (to the north of the Dutch mainland), part of the municipality of Eemsmond; 'epibreren' in lower case is a verb, meaning something like 'appearing to be busy whilst doing nothing'. Please also consult the Epibreren Tourist Information Desk and have a browse at

How long have you been in existence?
Since March 1994, when poets Arend Niebuur, Kasper Peters, Tjitse Hofman and Bart FM Droog and musician Martijn Woldring came together for the first time to give a performance. In 1996 Jan Klug replaced Martijn Woldring. Since June 1998 The Poets from Epibreren have consisted of Bart, Tjitse and Jan.

Why do you write?
What kind of wood would a woodchopper chop, when a woodchopper could chop wood?

Why don't you perform in Amsterdam more often?
Well, on an annual basis around 5% of our performances are in Amsterdam. About 5% of the inhabitants of The Netherlands live in Amsterdam. So, from our point of view, that's just about enough.

Why are you controversial?
Are we? In 2001 a Dutch newspaper used that question as the headline of an interview - we don't know why to this day. Perhaps it's because we usually take steps against those who write abject nonsense about us. The strange thing is that it's apparently alright to spread bullshit about us, but then it's not okay to defend ourselves.

But…what do 'people' say and who are they?
Wait a minute. We're not in the habit of repeating ourselves. Who are they? Well, a nutcase from Leiden and a bint from Utrecht like to chatter about us. From what they say it's crystal clear they haven't got a clue about what we do or want. But who knows, perhaps in certain circles it's fashionable to mouth off about The Poets from Epibreren…

What is it you want?
In aforementioned context or generally?

In aforementioned context: these people should button their lip. And if they really have something to say, then let them do some research. Not just start shouting things.

And more generally, what do you want?
What we want is to write poetry, give gripping performances of our own work and make the audience enthusiastic for Dutch poetry, both within and outside these borders. And not just our own poetry, that of others, too. We believe in diversity.

Which poets admire you?
Sorry? O, we see, yes, that's a funny word-order joke in Dutch that doesn't quite work in English. The Dutch 'Welke dichters(Subject) bewonderen(Verb) jullie(Object)?' has a full verb in the middle and so is ambiguous: the verb can belong to both 'Welke dichters'(Which poets) and to 'jullie'(you; OVS order). This grammar does not mirror into English, however. So you should ask: Which poets admire you, or, Which poets are admired by you? Depends on what you want to know…

Thanks for the grammar lesson: Which poets are admired by you?
Tjitse: Jan Arends, Paul van Ostaijen, Johnny van Doorn, Gust Gils, Tsjêbbe Hettinga, J.A. Deelder, Willem Wilmink.
Jan: I like Flemist poet Gust Gils.
Bart: Among others Wilfred Owen, Paul van Ostaijen, J. Slauerhoff, Gust Gils, Jan Arends, J.A. Deelder, Shane MacGowan, Piet Gerbrandy, Menno Wigman, Ruben van Gogh and Ingmar Heytze - that's only a small selection. Take a look at our Rottend Staal Online-poetry pages - where Epibreren's preferences soon become apparent.

Where's that long-awaited cd of yours?
Just be patient. We're working on a cd that'll be worth listening to again and again. And that's hard to do in the case of poetry cd's. Nevertheless, we hope to publish it at the end of 2003 or early 2004.

Bart, what's your real name?
Bartelomeus Frederik Maria Droog. That's how I was baptized and that's what it reads on my passport and driver's license. As there's at least four other Bart's Droog in the land of the living, I'm glad about my middle names!

Tjitse, when is your new book of poems due?
Well, it's just appeared, actually and the title is Roodvocht (Redjuice).

Jan, what's that instrument of yours called?

Translation: © Willem Groenewegen, 2003

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