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A monumental uncompromising oeuvre

Manners of Living

Leonard Nolens

Leonard Nolens is a monumental figure in Flemish poetry. His poetry forms one of the most all-encompassing and uncompromising oeuvres in Dutch-language literature. He made his debut in 1969 with baroque, experimental poems, and in the mid 1980s his work became far more sober. His spellbinding style gave way to a spoken-language tone, while continuing to encompass profound thought.

A poet on a lonely highth
NRC Handelsblad

With brilliance, Nolens addresses a number of classic themes in ever-varying modulations, as if haunted by them. Whether the poems deal with parents, the questioning child, youth, farewell parties, cities, friends, loneliness, alcohol, God, money, the dream woman or the dream book, they all form part of the construction of a self and the writing of a life. Nolens’ poetry is distinguished by the polyphonic ways of thinking and imaginary ways of acting that are contained within it. Each poem represents a reasoning, each cycle a solid yet explosive behavioural type.

He has attracted significant recent attention from poets who admire his final two collections ‘God aan zee’ en ‘Het berg-meer’. In 2007, a new edition of his collected poetry was published in the prestigious Dutch Classics-series.  In the same year, his biography and several studies on his work appeared.