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Interview with Carl Norac

“My deepest dream is that one day my poems can travel through time and space, come to China, and be compiled into the same poetry anthology together with Chinese ancient poems.”


When talking about China, Carl Norac held up a stack of books to the camera happily: “These are my collections of French versions of Chinese poems. Many of my poems are influenced by a Chinese poet. This great poet is Lu You! The pronunciation of his name might not be quite correct,” he apologised with a smile, “He used a kind of philosophical thinking to examine nature, which is quite enlightening for me both as a person in life or a poet. ”


Carl Norac originally lived in the city when he was a child, and his father Pierre Coran was also a poet. But one day, his father decided to build a wooden house in the forest. Carl Norac, who had no siblings, began to make friends with trees in the forest.


Walking in the forest was not only an adventure, but also made him understood himself better. This experience later became an inexhaustible source of creation for his life. He has published more than 130 books, which have been translated into 47 languages. And all these works come from that secret magic forest.


Since childhood, Carl Norac has been wandering with his family everywhere, and later he has traveled to almost the entire world himself. All such experiences later became the material of his writing.


After his long journey, he settled in Belgium, and was appointed as the fourth poet laureate (Poète national) in Belgian history on January 29, 2020.


From 2014, every two years, all Belgian poetry associations and publishing houses will jointly select a poet with outstanding achievements and confer the title of “Poet Laureate” in Belgium. The poet must write in one of the three official languages ​​of Belgium (French, German and Dutch). With the different nominations of the “Poet Laureate” in each session, a situation in which the three languages ​​are rotated has formed.


During the two-year duty period, the “Poet Laureate” must write at least 12 poems and present them in three languages ​​on the Poet Laureate’s website, in order to promote cultural exchanges between the three languages ​​and enhance the cohesion among citizens.


After Carl Norac took the role, he soon composed two poems, one to pay tribute to the power of poetry, and one aimed at alleviating anxiety for the people in the early stage of the outbreak of COVID-19.


However, as the situation intensified, Carl Norac saw from the news that not only in Belgium, but all over Europe, a large number of people died every day, and these people were simply buried in haste without even a basic ceremony. This made him sad.


So he called for a campaign called “Flowers and Funerals”, calling on poets across Belgium to unite and write a poem for those who unfortunately lost their lives in the epidemic. If a formal funeral cannot be held, at least they could offer a poetic farewell to the dead.


A total of ninety poets participated in this response and wrote dozens of poems for those who died with or without names.


“My poems are not for printing on books, but to provide a poet’s perspective on social reality. My poems are not just for poetry lovers to read but should be in the crowd.”


“In this unfortunate period, what I want to convey is not sadness, but hope. I wrote a poem that mentioned a kind of virus which is called poetry. Only this kind of “virus” is what we want to spread. We pick up a poem and pass it on to the lives, existence and philosophy of others.”


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