Poets Pick Things Up all over the World

The Poetry of Luuk Gruwez In an essay written in 1980 the Flemish poet Luuk Gruwez (1953-) drew a distinction between poets whom he likened to piano-tuners, and other poets whom he described as singers. The latter group, in which he included himself, ‘emerge from their poems as people of flesh and blood, not as…

The Making of a Translator

There was a framed Dutch proverb hanging on the wall in my parents’ house. Embroidered in gold on black satin, it read: ‘Gezelligheid kent geen tijd’ – ‘Time flies when you’re having fun’. It was a gift from the Netherlands, from when my father’s brother had studied classical languages at Utrecht University in the 1950s.…

With a View of the Landscape

The Poetic World of Miriam Van hee The Flemish poet Miriam Van hee, born in Ghent in 1952, read Slavonic studies at university and has translated poetry by Anna Akhmatova, Osip Mandelstam and Joseph Brodsky into Dutch. She debuted in 1978 with Het karige maal (‘The scanty meal’) and has since published ten collections, including…

Miriam Van hee

Miriam Van hee (1952-) made her debut with the collection The Frugal Meal (Het karige maal, 1978). This title, with those of her subsequent collections, marked out the boundaries of her poetic world: Inner Rooms and other Poems (Binnenkamers en andere gedichten, 1980), Snowed In (Ingesneeuwd, 1984), Winterhard (1988) and Travelling Money (Reisgeld, 1992). Time…

A Total Eclipse of the Heart

About Dirk van Bastelaere It is one of the pillars of Dirk van Bastelaere’s poetry – and a crucially ironic one, I believe – that a poem is never self-evident. The same could probably be said of everyone, except for the odd dishevelled poetaster here and there, but I’m not talking about technical difficulties in…