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100 Dutch-Language Poems
Sample PassageO land van mest en mist, van vuilen, kouden regen,
Doorsijperd stukske grond, vol killen dauw en damp,
Vol vuns, onpeilbaar slijk en ondoorwaadbre wegen,
Vol jicht en parapluies, vol kiespijn en vol kramp!
O saaie brij-moeras, o erf van overschoenen,
Van kikkers, baggerlui, schoenlappers, moddergoôn,
Van eenden groot en klein, in allerlei fatsoenen,
Ontvang het najaarswee van uw verkouden zoon!
Uw kliemerig klimaat maakt mij het bloed in de aderen
Tot modder; ’k heb geen lied, geen honger, vreugd noch vreê.
Trek overschoenen aan, gewijde grond der Vaderen,
Gij – niet op mijn verzoek – ontwoekerd aan de zee.
P.A. DE GÉNESTET 1829-1861
© English Translation: John Irons
Oh land of filth and fog, of vile rain chill and stinging,
A sodden fetid plot of vapours dank and damp,
A vast expanse of mire and blocked roads clogged and clinging,
Brimful of gamps and gout, of toothache and of cramp!
Oh dreary mushy swamp, oh farmyard of galoshes,
With marsh frogs, dredgers, cobblers, mud gods overrun,
With every shape and size of duck that therein sploshes,
Receive this autumn dirge from your besnotted son!
To mud your claggy climate makes my blood set slowly;
Song, hunger, joy and peace are all withheld from me.
Pull your galoshes on, ancestral ground most holy,
You – not at my request – once wrested from the sea.
Number of pages: 284
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What was said about 100 Dutch-Language Poems‘Where has this anthology been all my life?! A scholarly and literary treasure trove of Dutch-language verse across the centuries. The selection, the translation and the poetry itself are superb. Another black hole in our ignorance of international literature has been filled by this beautiful and important anthology.’ – Rosie Goldsmith, broadcaster & journalist
‘It is high time we had a new volume of Dutch poetry in English translation. Holland Park Press has given us a magnificent one: 100 poems by 100 poets, with women poets amply represented. At long last an anthology that gives readers a sense of the richness and variety of the poetic tradition in the Netherlands and Flanders. The translations by John Irons and Paul Vincent are the best – readers who know Dutch can judge for themselves in this generous bilingual anthology.Jane Fenoulhet, Professor of Dutch Studies at UCL
‘Enjoy Franssen extrapolating at length when you buy the book, for it is an important book to purchase and read, essential for students of Dutch literature or those interested in translation, and a welcome publication for bi-lingual readers.’ – Anthony Costello on his blog and on Sabotage Reviews
‘The anthology permits a great many reading styles, from purely English reading to more profound, scholarly readings of the poetry.’
‘This anthology goes a long way to fill the lacuna of anglocentric misunderstanding regarding the Low Lands as a largely uneventful place – this anthology proves that is simply not the case, and many of these poets have been closely guarded secrets in English translation for many years. Hopefully not for much longer.’ – Richie McCaffery in Glasgow Review of Books
‘They commendably have included a good number of female poets as well as a chronological schema with summaries of the (numbered) poems themes from each era. This helpful device combined with links to further information references online and in print allows the reader to move around the anthology easily and to pick up on both micro and broader themes.’ – David Caddy on Tears in the Fence
‘Each English version faces its Dutch original and, given the paucity of such material, this volume will surely be around for many years
One of the many pleasures of this collection is to note the frequent parallels with our own poetic tradition, but to see them refracted through a different lens.
This is a volume which can be enthusiastically recommended.’ – David Cooke on London Grip
Comments from the Judges of the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize:
This treasury of Dutch and Flemish poems (parallel texts of originals and translations) brings together single works of poets ranging from the 11th century to the 21st. It is a rich anthology, based on the two translators’ personal preferences, but also managing to represent something like a canon of important works judged by criteria clearly explained in the translators’ preface. The judges are commending not only the quality of the translations but the selection itself of poets and poems, and the composition of a whole that is even more than the sum of its parts. There is to our knowledge no comparably wide-ranging collection available to English readers, and although inevitably some omissions will be felt, many of the most influential poets are indeed here, powerfully introduced in these new English versions. We believe that the book will be a uniquely valuable source for teachers and students, but we are impressed above all by the inventiveness, the variety, and often the sheer beauty of these English works, through which the Dutch poetic voices speak and sing to us.
‘100 Dutch-Language Poems is een boeiende bloemlezing, die hopelijk aanzet tot vertalingen van afzonderlijke bundels. De Nederlandstalige poëzie is het waard.’ – Hans Puper in Meander