Skip to main content

Hans Van de Waarsenburg HAS DIED

The poet can’t help writing poetry and time can’t help taking him for granted. Rest in peace, dear friend. – Benno Barnard
Terribly sad news. The brilliant Dutch poet Hans Van de Waarsenburg has died. I loved him. He was brilliant, kind, generous, funny, and a great friend to poets world-wide. Dutch poet Hans van de Waarsenburg was born in Helmond in1943, and has died in 2015, June 15. He published his first collection of poems, Gedichten (Poems), 50 years ago, in 1965. His collection De vergrijzing (The graying) was awarded the prestigious Jan Campert Prize for Poetry in 1973. In March 2004 he received the first Municipal Award of the Helmond Town Council for his entire work. Between 1997 and 2000 he was chairman of the PEN Centre of the Netherlands. In 1997 he became chairman of The Maastricht International Poetry Nights - an impressive biannual international poetry festival. In 2013 Eyewear published his Selected Poems in English, translated by Peter Boreas, The Past Is Never Dead. We launched it at a gala event in Bloomsbury at which over 100 people attended.

'Hans van de Waarsenburg is quietly working on an impressive oeuvre. He possesses great technical skills, which he uses to vary and intensify his standard themes and motifs. He is no innovator, nor does he slavishly follow the latest fads. Neither is he a poet who forces himself on our attention in that loud entourage which more and more replaces literature itself. Loyalty is the key to Van de Waarsenburg’s work. His poetry expresses a loyalty to the people around him, loyalty to their motives and desires. He has an eye for their vulnerability, their futility and their restrictions. It is first of all expressed in the earnest and careful way in which he uses language. Thus a careful listener hears an individual and unmistakable voice rising from the poetry.' — Hans Groenewegen

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

SANTA WEARS EYEWEAR...

Sean Bonney has Died

It is always sad news when a fiercely experimental, committed, and talented poet dies, and so it is that I was sad to learn that Sean Bonney has died, aged 50, in Berlin. Bonney and I often crossed pens online, in the past, and he was no friend to my ideas on poetics. But, he was a poet with conviction and brilliance, and every death is the death of a world. I wish sincere condolences to all who knew him, and loved him, and hope that his poems live on, in memory and print, discussion and study, for years ahead.

IQ AND THE POETS - ARE YOU SMART?

When you open your mouth to speak, are you smart?  A funny question from a great song, but also, a good one, when it comes to poets, and poetry. We tend to have a very ambiguous view of intelligence in poetry, one that I'd say is dysfunctional.  Basically, it goes like this: once you are safely dead, it no longer matters how smart you were.  For instance, Auden was smarter than Yeats , but most would still say Yeats is the finer poet; Eliot is clearly highly intelligent, but how much of Larkin 's work required a high IQ?  Meanwhile, poets while alive tend to be celebrated if they are deemed intelligent: Anne Carson, Geoffrey Hill , and Jorie Graham , are all, clearly, very intelligent people, aside from their work as poets.  But who reads Marianne Moore now, or Robert Lowell , smart poets? Or, Pound ?  How smart could Pound be with his madcap views? Less intelligent poets are often more popular.  John Betjeman was not a very smart poet, per se.  What do I mean by smart?