Curated by Marthe van de Grift

Joost Oomen (1990, The Netherlands) is a poet and performer with a taste for the absurd. Together with the garage jazz band Kruidkoek, he merges literature and music into, among other compositions, ‘Vruchtjes Eten’: A mind-bending and joyful performance about almost every kind of fruit you can (or better: can’t) think of.  

Isn’t it bizarre how Joost manages to give every single fruit its own absurd universe in just one sentence? Hearing him ramble on about all the different kinds of fruit makes me wonder if these ‘vruchtjes’ (a literal translation of this Dutch word would be ‘little fruits’) are a metaphor for something bigger. But then again, his description of the fruits appeals so much to the imagination that it doesn’t really matter. I am dazzled by the heightened climax and taken on an enigmatic rollercoaster ride, awarded at the end with arriving in fruity paradise (03:30). 


Listen to the Dutch poem ‘Een blok cement op zolder vinden’ (‘finding a block of cement in the attic’). Joost wrote this poem in very odd circumstances, as reflected in the piece. Being inspired by the somatic exercises of the American poet C.A. Conrad, Joost made his own poetry-writing ritual: 


“Drink a lot of tea, try to empty three pots. 

Which tea, it doesn't matter. 

Drink the tea from a mug, not from a glass. 

Drink a lot of coffee. 

The coffee wants to push the tea out of your body. 

Make sure the coffee is strong. 

Besides coffee in the filter, you also have to throw in cinnamon. 

Drink the coffee from the same mug you just drank the tea from. 

It is important that it is dark outside. 

Make sure you’re in a room that's not just yours. 

There must be the possibility for people to enter the room. 

The living room of a student house is the most suitable, but it can also be the living room of your parents.  

But you do have to be alone. 

Because of the coffee and tea you’ll probably have to go to the toilet. 

You don't go to the toilet, you try to stay in your seat on the couch. 

You stay in the room. 

If you have to move, walk around / stand on the coffee table / hit the mantelshelf with your fist. 

Wait until you really need to go to the bathroom. 

This takes about six hours. 

Jump from one leg to the other to relieve the pain. 

Put headphones on your head. 

Listen to the drum solos of Elvin Jones and Art Blakey from the drum battle of 1968. 

Listen to the song Bu’s Delight by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. 

Try to imitate the drumming patterns by beating on your thighs. 

You should imitate the patterns on your legs with flat hands. 

Hit in front of the beat, rock your torso. 

Then write a poem. 

Thereafter you can go to the toilet and reread your poem.” 

‘Een blok cement op zolder vinden is written in Dutch, but just like ‘Vruchtjes Eten’ it is not only about understanding what is being said! Have a listen, or try out the ritual for yourself. 


Crazy about JOOST OOMEN? Get in his head! Engage in the story De zon als hij valt, of a glass-eye and a wrist that embark on a journey to be together. A one-of-a-kind debut in prose with an absurd storyline written by Joost Oomen.  

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