Ruth Lasters resigns as Antwerp city poet because critical poem about education has been refused

Ruth Lasters resigns as Antwerp city poet because critical poem about education has been refused
Ruth Lasters resigns as Antwerp city poet because critical poem about education has been refused

Ransom

Oil, oil stupid state those students from the age of twelve
still literally labeled with ‘A’ or ‘B’. Welcome to high school!

A question to Flanders: when will society be completely flat?
Is that when the solicitors and the senators go on strike? Or if the plumbers,
the bakers and dock workers don’t show up?

Oh, indeed! The land is upside down when the roofers chatter,
when all the shopkeepers clean their shovel, when the nannies
put on the diapers themselves, when cooks send their cats to Nam Fong,
Mister Spaghetti and to all the boarding schools.

And who is the smartest now, someone who knows where the Aconcagua is
(question from The smartest person in the world) or who can draw the whole flowchart
and perform for a school kitchen, the Sportpaleis, Wetstraat meeting rooms?
Someone who knows how much a flamingo weighs or someone who can operate a hoist
without the bomma falling on cold tiles before the lights go out?

We should talk about A and B ministers. Then they would
maybe understand what it feels like. Like we’re second choice
as if learning a craft can only be a plan B
for when the A-direction someone does not lie, does not go.

Soon you, Flanders, will still demand ransom for the word ‘intelligent’
that thou hast held hostage for ages, reserved only for quizzers,
for doctors, architects, scientists, for Mrs. Michiels and lawyers.

While we, stair makers, calculate the slope, the ideal distance between steps. Can you do that, Flanders? And do you know everything, like us mechanics, about the correct tension on camshaft bolts or how to replace the timing belt?
for perfect valve timing?

As long as you, Flanders, don’t also call the craftsman smart
in newspapers, game shows and news,
you are not worth the A’s in your name Flanders.

Ruth Lasters, written in collaboration with Kelvin Kamau, Miguel Angel, Charlotte Sibaers, Amber Serresen, Nyano Van Mechelen and Inne Michiels of the Spectrum School in Deurne.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Ruth Lasters resigns Antwerp city poet critical poem education refused

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