An Anthology of 100 Dutch-Language Poems Represents 1000 Years of Literary History

A recently published poetry anthology 100 Dutch-Language Poems. From the Medieval Period to the Present Day gives readers of English a taste of Dutch-language poetry, with 100 selected poems to represent 1000 years of literary history, from early writing by an anonymous scribe to contemporary writers, reflecting the canon of Dutch literature.

The anthology begins with these anonymous 11th century verses:

All birds are a-nesting
save me and thee
why now do we tarry

… and runs until ‘Big Bang’, a poem by Lieke Marsman, who was born in 1990:

One night on TV a physicist says
it’s not impossible the universe will one days
stop growing and slowly, faster
than light, implode. In that case
trillions of cosmoses might succeed
ours and we’d now be left dangling
from a family tree of universes. Imagine
only being able to reproduce
by ceasing to exist.

Next morning, when at the
start of a day I see I’ve begun
breathing again, I compare this tossing
around of stars to the bobbing about
of my breasts, to a radio
aerial you can keep sliding aimlessly in and out
and then, my most successful shot to date,
to a sea anemone.

The poems were selected and translated by award-winning translators Paul Vincent and John Irons, along with one translation by Francis Jones. The book includes a detailed foreword by the translators explaining the selection, and an afterword by Gaston Franssen, assistant professor of literary culture at the University of Amsterdam.

BLACK HOLE FILLED

The anthology is published by Holland Park Press. A launch event on 23rd September 2015 in London including readings of the poems, along with the participation of Dutch poets Jules Deelder and Tonnus Oosterhoff.

Journalist, broadcaster and advocate for international literature in the UK Rosie Goldsmith commented, "Another black hole in our ignorance of international literature has been filled by this beautiful and important anthology."

Holland Park Press is a privately owned publisher of literary fiction and poetry. It specialises in contemporary English fiction and poetry, translations of Dutch classics and modern Dutch fiction  and poetry in English and Dutch.

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