Another edition of the Poetry in Potato Bags project, which links Malta to the Dutch city Leeuwarden on both an agricultural and literary level, has arrived. This project, which is organised by Valletta 2018 in tandem with Leeuwarden 2018 and led by Inizjamed, has a programme of activities running between the 20th and 21st October.

On the 20th October at 8.00 pm, there will be a free film screening of the Frisian film La Luz Del Mar. The screening, which is part of the rootsROUTES poetry film programme at Spazju Kreattiv, gives the public the opportunity to learn about Tsjêbbe Hettinga, a blind Frisian poet. A discussion will be held after the screening between Maltese poets Antoine Cassar and Claudia Gauci, together with international guests Froukje de Jong and Rudi Wester, who oversee the project from Leeuwarden. The discussion will be led by Caldon Mercieca. This film is being show in collaboration with Spazju Kreattiv, along with other Frisian films and the Valletta 2018 Poetry on Film poetry films.  Other Frisian films are being shown alongside other films from Malta and abroad at Spazju Kreattiv till the 2nd of November.

Another activity will take place the next day on the 21st October when students from Aġenzija Żgħażagħ’s Youth.Inc programme will visit the Abdilla potato importer and exporter at Ta’ Qali. On the day, these young people will learn how potato seeds are sewn and how farming equipment works, and will later be treated to potato dishes which they will write about. The teenagers will also be given a bag with verses from famous authors and illustrations by Nadine Noko.

‘Poetry in Potato Bags’ looks at the relationship between Malta and Leeuwarden which goes back to 1850 when they started exchanging potatoes and potato seeds. When the seeds arrive from Leeuwarden, Maltese farmers sew the seeds and grow potatoes which they then send back to Leeuwarden. The ‘Poetry in Potato Bags’ project makes use of the cycle by also exchanging poetry along with the seeds and potatoes, while celebrating the title of European Capital of Culture which Valletta and Leeuwarden will have in 2018.