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Poetry

Read more about this genre in the essay Post-1945 poetry in Flanders: dynamic, open and diverse, or scroll through our selection of the finest poetry from Flanders.

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  • Cover Choir
    Cover Choir
    Choir
    A monument, in the oeuvre of Verhelst as well as in the history of poetry
    De Standaard

    ‘Choir’ is the first anthology of poems Peter Verhelst selected himself out of published and unpublished works. This new context forced Verhelst not only to change the chronological order, but often also to a rewriting of several poems.

  • Cover Swimming Pool of Imagination
    Cover Swimming Pool of Imagination
    Swimming Pool of Imagination
    The subtleness of this poetry continues to affect you, even once you have left the swimming pool of imagination
    De Standaard

     ‘Swimming Pool of Imagination’ is Tom Van de Voorde’s third collection. The poems explicitly reflect the current political and societal issues. He is nothing more than an engaged spectator of ‘military fear’. We might heroically resolve to get involved in the world around us, but to what extent do we succeed?

  • Cover It Was What It Was
    Cover It Was What It Was
    It Was What It Was
    For the brief duration of a poem, Van Istendael manages to save people, things and a dialect from fading into obscurity
    Cobra

    Van Istendael takes notice of people as closely as he observes the objects around him. He serves up beautiful, melancholic poems of earthly tragedy. The ‘People’ section is an ode to the (almost lost) dialect and (almost) bygone times.

  • Cover Chameleon
    Cover Chameleon
    Chameleon
    A surprisingly strong debut
    Cobra.be

    Charlotte Van den Broeck won her poetical spurs in a similar way to Maud Vanhauwaert, namely onstage. The accompanying familiarity of her name provided her debut ‘Chameleon’ with the necessary impetus. ‘Chameleon’ would appear to be the perfect title for a debut volume of poetry.

  • Photo Poet, Boxer, King's Daughter
    Photo Poet, Boxer, King's Daughter
    Poet, Boxer, King's Daughter
    Her universe is peopled by characters and situations which brutally burst into your imagination and remain there to haunt your dreams when you are wide awake.
    Jury Report VSB Poetry Prize

    Delphine Lecompte’s poetry creates an extraordinary universe, peopled with characters of highly diverse plumage. The poems are self and family portraits, which, like mirrors at a funfair, magnify the poet’s world into mythological dimensions and associations and reduce it to personal dramas. Full of unusual trains of thought, they seem most like lucid ravings.

  • Cover Light Metres
    Cover Light Metres
    Light Meters
    Ruth Lasters operates with a pair of silver scissors, filleting modern society affectionately, but uncompromisingly.
    Jury Report VISB Prize

    She connects a football game to the way our brain works, and flashing neon lights remind her of her own futility. Ruth Laster's poetry is characterized by playful leaps of the mind, yet they are never banal. Lasters employs language as a magnifying glass: she twists reality to see with a crystal-clear vision, against the loss of wonder, and for the gusto of discovery.

  • Cover Now is Already too Late
    Cover Now is Already too Late
    Now is Already too Late
    A poet like no other.
    NRC Handelsblad

    Erik Spinoy constructs his collections with great care, dividing them meticulously into sections and cycles that reinforce his treatment of themes. He rediscovers himself time and again, like a snake shedding its skin. His book ‘Now is Already too Late’ is no different in this respect, and at the same time it is.

  • Cover Wonderbra's & Pepperspray
    Cover Wonderbra's & Pepperspray
    Wonderbras & Pepper Spray
    He composes exuberant poems that sometimes come flying off the rails – which is actually quite refreshing considering how stagnant the world of poetry so often is
    TZUM

    ‘Wonderbras & Pepper Spray’ by Andy Fierens is revealing in its contemporaneity. Those who still think that poetry always sings about sublime subjects in a sacred, respectful tone will have to fundamentally rethink their opinions after reading these poems.

  • Cover We Are Parallel
    Cover We Are Parallel
    We Are Parallel
    Her wonder on existence becomes the wonder of the reader
    Jury Report VSB Poetry Prize

    Maud Vanhauwaert already had won her spurs on the stage before notably debuting as a poet with her collection ‘Ik ben mogelijk’ (I am possible). ‘Wij zijn evenwijdig’ is a complex collection that at a closer look gets more and more coherent, using rhetorical strategies that easily seduce the reader. Reader and poet, walking parallel, touch each other in infiniteness.

  • Cover Sculptures
    Cover Sculptures
    Sculptures. A choise from the works
    He crosses out a space for himself
    Herman de Coninck

    Gradually the light nonchalant tone in Jooris’s poetry disappears and it becomes more severe. The world moves increasingly out of the frame; more and more frequently the poems are about poetry itself. In his poetic work too Jooris has often turned to the world of the arts for inspiration. 'Sculptures' is the perfect introduction to his comparatively modest oeuvre.

  • Cover Home
    Cover Home
    Home
    Buelens writes a forthright terroristic poetry, although with still carefulness and subtility
    Jeroen Mettes

    ‘Home’ investigates what makes us feel at home. Is it a place, a feeling, a language, a wireless connection or a carefully cultivated illusion? At first sight his poetry appears to be difficult, and while it can hardly be called simple, it is never uncomprehensible. Rather, it links the quest for the appropriate linguistic structure with the everyday struggle of the lyrical protagonist.

  • Cover Our desire
    Cover Our desire
    Our Desire
    Witty and vilainous
    De Groene Amsterdammer

    A chilling display of all the things people do to each other. Bogaert is not only one of the most modern but also one of the most interesting poets writing at the moment, one who gets under your skin rather than remaining at a distance, on paper.

  • Cover Nothing that Says
    Cover Nothing that Says
    Nothing that Says
    De Martelaere is not someone who thinks slowly or laboriously. No – her trains of thought thunder at full speed, are compelling and, within a limited space, summon up and deal with a variety of issues
    Trouw

    Love, insecurity and an endless longing for another are the most prominent themes in the poetry brought together in this anthology that spans 20 years.The poetry in ‘Nothing that Says’ portrays something that cannot be made tangible in any other way.

  • Cover Tirol Inferno
    Cover Tirol Inferno
    Tirol Inferno
    A delightful piece to read and look at, with international allure
    De Morgen

    Verbeke and Verplancke offer a parody of the sovereign power of the artist in modern society. At a more abstract level, this story, taking place in the limited confines of a ski lift, is about an unsympathetic society that demands the artist to justify him- or herself. The result is a parable you will not easily forget.

  • Cover Manners of Living
    Cover Manners of Living
    Manners of Living
    A poet on a lonely highth
    NRC Handelsblad

    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. With brilliance, Nolens addresses a number of classic themes in ever-varying modulations, as if haunted by them. Nolens’ poetry is distinguished by the polyphonic ways of thinking and imaginary ways of acting that are contained within it.

  • Cover As If I Am Nearly There
    Cover As If I Am Nearly There
    As If I Am Nearly There
    Act like Elvis and shoot a bullet through your telly: it is here you have to look
    Humo

    Charles Ducal’s poetry contains much irony and casual humour, yet doesn’t shrink from such grand themes as language, religion and sexuality. His poetry is allegedly blasphemous, but ‘shocking’ would be a better epithet.

  • Cover Vigilant
    Cover Vigilant
    Vigilant
    In the dead calm literature in Flanders, the most remarkable debutant in years
    Humo

    With the skill of a pathologist, in 'Waakzaam' (Vigilant, 2011), he dissects the ugliness of hedonism and the aberration of egotism using drawn-out tirades in which the metre jerks and judders, and in which he makes a conscious choice to use ugly, often composite words full of hard consonants, like something posted by a spammer on an Internet forum.

  • Cover The Trip to Inframundo
    Cover The Trip to Inframundo
    The Trip to Inframundo
    The wizard of love and downfall
    Knack

    In ‘The Trip to Inframundo’ (2011) Peter Holvoet-Hanssen presents a challenging selection of poems taken from these five collections, and by altering the original chronology and combining poems in new ways he constructs a completely fresh collection in which he follows trails that emerge before fading away

  • Cover the blood spot
    Cover the blood spot
    The Blood Spot
    About this poetry, we will not run out of themes to talk about
    De Volkskrant

    Paul Demets' poetry is very much aware that language constitutes both the individual and the society in which a human being lives. His poetry questions the social and ethical dimensions, and resulting dilemmas, of modern society and time. In a world without fixed points to hold onto, the search for the self and the longing for interaction with the other ground Demets’ poems.

  • Cover To a New Sealand
    Cover To a New Sealand
    To a New Sealand
    Strong, penetrating and virtuoso poetry
    Annemarie Musschoot

    Peter Theunynck’s body houses twin souls: a virtuoso aesthete and a contrary troublemaker; a mild melancholic and a snappy hero of the resistance; a whistling nature-lover and a protesting city-dweller.

  • Cover something & nothing
    Cover something & nothing
    Something & Nothing
    Insingel’s language has the grim structure of a machinery, but when carefully read that machinery displays emotions
    NRC Handelsblad

    Language is at the heart of Mark Insingel’s oeuvre. His writing is based on an idiosyncratic, creative relationship with existing forms of expression such as slogans, traditional proverbs and idiomatic phrases, which he undermines and in his unique way playfully and unexpectedly combines in varying settings to eke out new meanings.

  • Cover wardrobe
    Cover wardrobe
    Wardrobe. A choice from all his poems
    In his texts Gruwez is looking for the boundaries of what is considered as decent or fitting
    Poëziekrant

    Gruwez' work does not shy away from heavy emotions. His poetry is a plea for sensuality, daring to be different, for emotional courage, for lyricism. In ‘Wardrobe’ he made a selection out of forty years of poetry writing. It is a strong and severe choice that presents a perfect introduction to the poetical work of Luuk Gruwez.

  • Cover Songs
    Cover Songs
    Songs
    Inspired poems that stand the ravages of time
    De Standaard

    Hadewijch's Songs are the beating heart of Dutch-language  literature. This mystic was the first woman in Europe to have dared to sing of mystical love in pure love poetry. Hadewijch created with astounding mastery and linguistic skill a mysticism of desire.

  • Cover The Sons of the Sun
    Cover The Sons of the Sun
    The Sons of the Sun

    The Sons of the Sun’ is an anthology of his seven published poetry collections, each of which has an internationally-inspired theme as its foundation. Paul Claes’ poems conjure up meaning using the alchemy of words, blend in Shakespearian sonnets, showcase rhyming sound poetry alongside pastiches, visual poetry and epigrams, and so on.

  • Cover Poems for Happy People
    Cover Poems for Happy People
    Poems for Happy People
    Moeyaert is at his most interesting when he allows himself to be driven by subject matter. It is then that he knows best how to disarm and move his readers in a fresh and elegant way
    Cutting Edge

    In ‘Poems for Happy People’, happiness and love are inseparably linked. Love (in all its forms) emanates from every page. Young readers discover a love of reading for the first time, the lighthouse loves seeing people around its town, and the sea loves washing ashore (because, after every low tide, it always changes its mind and returns).

  • Cover Complete Poems
    Cover Complete Poems
    Complete Poems
    Precocious and languorous poems

    Karel van de Woestijne is perhaps the most important post-symbolist poet to have written in the Dutch language. Van de Woestijne’s collected work consists of almost one thousand pages of poetry and an equal amount of prose, a significant portion being dedicated to epic poetry and essays on the visual arts and literature.

  • Cover There Is a Tall Sky Above Us
    Cover There Is a Tall Sky Above Us
    There Is a Tall Sky Above Us
    This is an extremely accurate and haunting collection of poems.
    Jury Report Herman de Coninck Prize

    In the poems of Moors’ debut collection ‘There is a tall sky above us’, a rather peculiar ‘I’ communicates ongoing amazement about a rather peculiar world. Undoubtedly the strong compositional aspect and the equally strong, provocative nature of her work are partly why these poems have already been deemed classics of the twenty-first century and Moors one of the rising stars of Flemish poetry.

  • Cover Blue-sick
    Cover Blue-sick
    Blue-sick
    A passionately cool observer
    8Weekly

    Observation is second nature to Bernard Dewulf, not only as a means to gather inspiration, but also as a linguistic method to catch a glimpse of the essence of things. In a stylised language he transforms his images and impressions into highly sensitive poems.

  • Cover help
    Cover help
    Help
    This is great theatre on the square centimeter. The leading role? The classical duo: you and me.
    Leonard Nolens

    The poems in ‘Help’ show the influence of the theatre: the two characters presented are utterly at the mercy of their urges, fears and desires. ‘Help’ is representative of Meuleman’s themes and obsessions; he is a cold observer of what might better be concealed behind closed doors. The author portrays characters who cast off their façades and make their way through a dark universe of loveless dependency, power, perversion and rampant sexual compulsions.

  • Cover Poems 1948-2004
    Cover Poems 1948-2004
    Poems 1948-2004
    Impressive, many-voiced poetry, generous, rich, unhampered by conventions of fashion or good taste
    Jury VSB Poetry Prize

    Although Claus is a stirring eclectic who displays a masterful variety of genre and style in all his activities, the basic theme of his work is clearly the urge for freedom, which must be fought for in family, church and society. Claus’ work addresses not only the malaise in society, but also inner unease.

  • Cover Collected Poems
    Cover Collected Poems
    Collected Poems
    Possibly the greatest Flemish poet of the 20th century. High time for a rediscovery
    De Standaard

    In a time when competing upheavals and –isms came successively at break-neck pace, Minne searched for and found his own voice, which made no attempts at pathos, sentimentality or exaggerated optimism in progress. With its inimitable blend of minimalism and irony, Minne’s poetry was remarkable, accessible and subversive right from the outset.

  • Cover Miroirs
    Cover Miroirs
    Miroirs. Poems since 1946
    Everything proves that the work of Christine D’haen is unique in Dutch-language literature
    Jury Report Anna Bijns Prize

    It is certain that the oeuvre of Christine D’haen will be read by different generations for many years ahead. This dense and highbrow poetry asks much from its readers, but in return they enjoy broad vistas that invite reflections on life and culture.

  • Cover Affairs of the Heart
    Cover Affairs of the Heart
    Affairs of the Heart
    Van Bastelaere provokes, menaces and seduces, curses and sings, but ceaselessly knows to fascinate his reader, to tangle him in his web of words
    Ons Erfdeel

    ‘Affairs of the Heart’ is generally acknowledged as Van Bastelaere's best and richest work to date. In this collection, the heart appears as an empty signifier which is accorded another meaning in every poem and is shown as a cultural construction.

  • Cover Complete Poems
    Cover Complete Poems
    Complete poems
    The Flemish Rainer Maria Rilke

    Gilliams’ sixty-eight poems and his entire body of work are part of the painful and obsessive effort to uncover and preserve his true self. The ultimate goal of his endeavors was to create a “lyrical autobiography”, a still portrait in the sea of life.

  • Cover The Poems
    Cover The Poems
    The poems
    His poems seem so easy and so obvious, but their core is the sense of being alone in a silent world
    Hugo Brems

    A constant in Herman de Coninck's poems is the urge to bring poetry closer to everyday reality without adopting the pose of a distant observer. In his poems, he often takes a familiar situation as the point of departure, things like an autumn walk or a birthday party. He is a poet of understatement, who counters sentimentality with ironic humour.

  • Cover Collected Poems 1942-1972
    Cover Collected Poems 1942-1972
    Collected Poems (1942-1972)
    Each poem attests to a supreme form of living – even in failure
    Tom Van Inschoot

    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.

  • Cover The East Acre Poems
    Cover The East Acre Poems
    The East Acre Poems
    Distinctly innovating poetry resulting in a whirling reading experience
    Literaire Canon

    Using old myths of fertility described by Frazer, biblical and Christian references and literary quotations, Claus evokes a mythical and fatal family constellation in which the mother, the father, the son and the beloved play roles that are alternately driven by desire and love, but also by fear and hatred. Definitely one of the highpoints in his oeuvre.

  • Cover Complete Poems
    Cover Complete Poems
    Complete Poems
    A pantheistic polyglot and conservative Catholic

    At the end of his life and in the first two decades of the 20th century, Gezelle was hailed by the avant-garde as the founder of modern Flemish poetry, and his unique voice was also belatedly recognised in the Netherlands and often compared with his English contemporary Gerard Manley Hopkins.

  • Cover Pitfalls
    Cover Pitfalls
    Pitfalls
    A literary all-rounder who explores all facets of life
    De Volkskrant

    ‘Pitfalls’ is a varied collection of letters, verse and short stories. The excerpts from the letters – which were never intended to be made public – caused a furore at the time. The title refers to the obstacles between Minne and the process of writing, between the author and publication – in other words, to the aforementioned struggle. As Minne put it: ‘Caution, enter at your peril!’

  • Cover Occupied City
    Cover Occupied City
    Occupied City
    A milestone of modernist poetry

    Embedded in a fragmentary atmospheric sketch of life in the port of Antwerp during World War I, ‘Occupied City’ is first and foremost a settling of accounts with the bourgeois culture and politics of Ostaijen’s period. The Dadaist influence from his time in Berlin can be found in its inventive rhythmical typography, its use of the collage technique, and the radicalism of its unparalleled cynical evocation of wartime suffering.