On Yeats’ Footstool

The Poet Karel van de Woestijne In 2000 the Flemings were polled to discover which poem, out of a list of a hundred, they rated the best. Among those hundred poems there was just one by Karel van de Woestijne, one of the three poets of real stature that were born in Flanders in the…

Westward

High through late light the white birds heading west flew over that had not a thing to gain from knowledge of twigs or building a nest. I was still young, but won’t forget again the spirit, the whoosh of the wings, the cries of the exalted ones; no joy or pain holds souls together, obsessed…

A Dutch Exotic in His Own Country

On the Writer Maarten ’t Hart He is coming increasingly to resemble the prolific Simon Vestdijk (1898-1971) from Doorn, author of 52 novels, 23 collections of essays and thousands of poems, whom he greatly admired. Poems aside, the total output of Maarten ’t Hart (1944) is getting fairly close: 19 novels, 9 collections of stories…

Translator or Actor?

I find myself asking myself more and more: ‘Why do you sit translating?’ What are the deeper-lying, the ultimate reasons for it? After all, for years I have objected to being referred to as ‘James Brockway, the translator’, for translating is only one of the things I have done in the Netherlands since the war.…