Skip to main content
Rebelling against powerlessness

Collected Poems (1942-1972)

Albert Bontridder

Albert Bontridder was a Flemish architect and poet. Together with contemporaries such as Jan Walravens and Hugo Claus, he was part of the ground-breaking modernistic magazine ‘Tijd en Mens’. Bontridder was a modernist both in his architecture and his poetry. His meandering, experimental writing, filled with surprising imagery and dumbfounding comparisons, is pervaded by societal and ethical issues. For example, he devoted one collection to the Prague Spring and the fight against authority. The problematic father figure, as a traditional representative of power and authority, appears regularly in his work.

Albert Bontridder overwhelms me and won’t loosen his grip. Bontridder isn’t often enough recognised as being the most thrilling, thorough poet ever since 'Tijd en Mens'
Willy Roggeman

Acutely aware of the destructive power of time, Bontridder does not set an ethical or aesthetic example to his audience. Rather, he holds a broken mirror up to them, creating a reflection in which the poet and reader rebel against their powerlessness. Bontridder was able to convincingly unite a quest for ‘ethics’ with ‘experimentation’. In that sense, his poetry cannot simply be categorised as autonomous, nor as engaged. It is a combination of both: sovereign, yet simultaneously in dialogue with the reader and their living environment.

One of the most dynamic and sophisticated poets in the Dutch language
Ons Erfdeel
Each poem attests to a supreme form of living – even in failure
Tom Van Inschoot