4. Dutch Poetry

Babelsprech setzt die Reihe der Essays zu junger Dichtung in anderen Ländern [Bisherige Beiträge umfassen Einführungen zu Finnland, Brasilien (hierhier und hier) und die Slowakei sowie ein Essay über das lyrische Ich im Internet (deutsche Übersetzung] mit einem Beitrag von Frank Keizer und Maarten van der Graaff über die niederländische (und flämische) Szene fort. Auszug:

Contemporary Flemish poetry is hard to fit into the categories that are distinguished by for example the Hotel New Flanders anthology – which put forward an essentially territorialized understanding of poetry (its rootedness in Flemish history), but also more metaphorically speaking, by confining poetry to its manifestation on the page, and disregarding the international influences that shape Flemish literature.

Contemporary Flemish poetry breaks with this logic. Poets like Maud Vanhauwaert (1987) and Lies van Gasse (1983) work across disciplines – visual arts, performance art and theater respectively – and others like Xavier Roelens (1978) and Tom Van de Voorde (1974) look towards international (especially American) rather than local traditions, as does Els Moors (1978). Emerging poets like Arno van Vlierberghe (1990) and Mathijs Tratsaert (1990) are highly conscious of the Flemish literary canon, but only use and transform it for their own goals. Literature is becoming a global practice: discussions on poetics have grown into an exchange. Precisely this communal, social aspect contributes to a growing liveliness across borders that would be wrong to suppress. But we have to admit: we will cover much less Flemish ground in this piece.

Similarly, Dutch poetry has been opening up. The old opposition between traditional and experimental, and between ‘accessible’ and ‘formalist’ or ‘conceptual’ poetry is starting to crumble. This started in the nineties, when poets actively began to cross the boundaries between anecdote and concept, between lyric voice and textuality that framed the debate for a long time. Typical poets that emerged in the nineties like Tonnus Oosterhoff (1953), Mustafa Stitou (1974), K. Michel (1958), Arjen Duinker (1956) and Astrid Lampe (1955) played an important role in this. We will refer back to these frames, even though we think they are faulty, because they are important for how poets self-identify, even if redefining and eventually displacing them is our main mission here, and Dutch poetry is far too eclectic to reduce to the terms of fossilized debates of the past.

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