‘An order, within which there’s room for chaos’

The Poetry of M. Vasalis ‘Do not be misled by what you see on the surface; deep down everything has a meaning.’ Rainer Maria Rilke The poetic oeuvre of M. Vasalis (1909-) is admittedly modest in size (only around 100 poems in total, spread over three collections), but her poetry has nonetheless acquired a position…

Respect for the Mystery

The Works of Willem Jan Otten In December 1999 Willem Jan Otten (1951-) received the Constantijn Huygens Prize, the prestigious Dutch literary award given for an entire oeuvre. The author was 48 years old at the time, which made him the youngest winner in the history of the prize. In spite of this relatively young…

Remco Campert and the Dubious Lightness of Being

If ever a writer in Dutch literature was blessed with eternal youth, that writer was Remco Campert. For decades his books bore witness to an almost provocative insouciance, which was perfectly expressed by the boyish, slightly mocking laugh in most of his portraits. His own preferred image of himself was as he appeared on the…