Nolens

Leonard Nolens won opnieuw een literair monument: de Vijfjaarlijkse Prijs voor Poëzie van de Koninklijke Academie voor Nederlandse Taal- en Letterkunde. Goed voor meer dan zesduizend euro drinkgeld en een portie eeuwige roem.
In 2011, toen zijn bekroonde bundel ‘Zeg aan de kinderen dat wij niet deugen’ net in de schappen lag, stond ik samen met de dichter op hetzelfde podium, ergens in een kroeg in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Opzet van de avond? Eén bekende naam, één aanstormend talent. En zien wat dat gaf.
En wat dat gaf? Een kwade, brommende beer van een Nolens.
Mijn repertoire bevatte namelijk een gedicht over Xantippe, de echtgenote van Socrates.
De vrouw verdiende naar mijn gevoelen eerherstel, omdat de grootste filosoof aller tijden nogal minnetjes omging met zijn geliefde. Zij offerde alles op (haar naam, haar schoonheid, haar geluk) om hem restloos te dienen. En de Griekse wijsgeer? Nooit eens een woordje van dank klaar. En met de gifbeker in de hand koos hij liever voor de platonische ideeën dan voor zijn kinderen.
Bij wijze van inleiding noemde ik Socrates dan ook ‘een lul’. Waarop meteen, vanuit de achtergrond, met een jenevertje op tafel, Nolens kwalijk begon te mompelen. En even later, toen hij het verhoog betrad, kreeg ik een publieke bolwassing.
Dat een dichter altijd de Waarheid moet dienen, zei hij, hoe pijnlijk ook.
Nolens kan gelijk hebben. Hij schreef ondertussen alle grote poëziewedstrijden op zijn naam, ik nog geen enkele.

 

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